Monday, July 16, 2007

old skills meet hi tec in interest of conservation

Now this is an odd story but worth a look plus the software is free

African researchers have developed a software for PDAs that turns the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert into digital wildlife trackers. Most of the Bushmen cannot read or write, but they can see what is alive in front of them — and the icons on their PDAs. The screen displays more than 40 animal species, subspecies and plants. The icons also cover activities such as drinking, feeding, running, fighting, mating and sleeping. Pressing an icon records a sighting or other indications, which is sent wirelessly to a computer server by satellite. Of course, this free software can be used for other purposes than nature conservation. It can be applied around the world to social surveys, organic farming, integrated pest management and disaster relief