Mobile phone apps for agricultural biodiversity

When I was asked recently whether I knew of anyone developing mobile phone apps “which can assist with seed diversity” my first reaction was: nah. And that’s where I left it. For a couple of hours, at any rate.

Because then my second reaction kicked in: but wouldn’t it be cool to have one? Or many, in fact. Like a mobile version of Genesys which tells you if any germplasm is being conserved in a genebank from the vicinity of your present location. Like a little thing that updates the environmental niche model for a species on the fly as you find (or fail to find) more specimens during a collecting trip. Like a way of recording an event or activity likely to lead to genetic erosion in a place you’re visiting. Like a way for farmers to feed back information on the performance of seeds they’ve been given. Like a version of Climate Analogues that farmers could actually use. And that’s where I left it for a few more hours.

Which is when my third reaction arrived: hang on, maybe there are some after all. And indeed there are various things in the App Store that are agrobiodiversity relevant, though admittedly clearly not aimed at subsistence farmers. So is anyone keeping track of stuff that may be useful to developing countries? Well, google reveals Ken Banks is, at did an interview with him a few years back. Nothing very seedy in his database, though. Yet. Do you know of any relevant apps we could send in to them? Maybe you’re developing one yourself? Let us know.

And yes, I know. I should just have googled right at the start. But I was in a mood.

6 Replies to “Mobile phone apps for agricultural biodiversity”

  1. “How often does it happen that you’re in a grocery store or on vacation and that you discover fruits and vegetables that you would like to eat? … or you just would like to learn more about.”

    Almost never … but maybe that’s just me.

  2. All are good ideas, and I would like to add to this, apps to harvest data from our day to day research, for example collecting missions, trials and field experiments, breeder evaluation etc… Smart phone can provide powerful tools like camera, voice recorder, and GPS, which can makes data forms richer and even linked to multimedia content that can be very helpful. We at ICARDA already digitized collecting mission forms and in the process of developing digital field books to harvest characterization and evaluation data for our annual multiplication and regeneration of germplasm; all data are submitted to the documentation system through the internet from any WiFi connection, which eliminates labor intensive and time consuming data-entry.

  3. Museum Victoria has a nice field guide app to facilitate mobile learning about biodiversity

    The code for this app is also provided as open source…

    The Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation has launched its ute weed quite as an app

    Both are free.

    Plenty of garden guides can be found at the apple app store, some feature varietal diversity, for example the pocket garden.

    The NSW DPI broadacre unit has developed a variety chooser app

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