It marks a major milestone for award winning iSpot, which is part of the Imperial College’s Open Air Laboratories and funded by the National Lottery. The website first appeared in the national media after a six-year-old girl identified a rare moth, the Euonymus Leaf Notcher, which had never been seen before in Britain after uploading an image of the creature to the website.
iSpot Director and Professor of Ecology at the OU Jonathan Silvertown said: "It is a proud day for us and for all the iSpot community from beginners to experts. A huge number and variety of observations have been made and thanks to this community, more than 90 per cent of them have been identified, often within minutes of posting to iSpot. Anyone who ever wondered 'What is that?' should snap a photo on their phone or camera and post it on iSpot. It’s fun and you'll learn something!"
iSpot helps anyone, from amateur spotter to zoologist, identify anything in nature. An enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and friendly community, iSpot is the leading nature-spotting social network in the UK. It has a thriving community in its thousands driven by intrigue and a love of nature who all work together to learn more about the natural world around them.
Users can upload images from the natural world around them for identification, and work with others to identify plants and creatures uploaded by others. iSpot users come from a plethora of backgrounds, from complete beginners discovering their first Euonymus Leaf Notcher, to accredited experts from museums and recording schemes from around the globe.
The many eyes of the iSpot community have proved so keen that hundreds of rarities have been recorded and they have discovered two species new to Britain.
The next phase of the project will see several exciting new developments for users of iSpot, building on the foundations established so far which will make iSpot even more accessible to the public. The iSpot Android App is now in public beta, and will soon be ready for general release. iSpot.org.uk is being developed further through funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation; it is also part of the OU’s Wolfson OpenScience Laboratory, a global centre at the cutting edge of practical science learning – operated entirely online. iSpot will also be supporting British Ecological Society’s Festival of Ecology in 2013.