What is it?
While working in the field in Botswana, Angola and Namibia, our team realized that there were few good open source tools that met the specific needs of field research. To respond to this need we created FieldKit and brought thousands of people along with us into the Okavango Delta on a ‘live data’ expedition to continuously measure the heartbeat of this system. After 3 years of development and testing FieldKit is now a publicly available, fully featured tool.
Fieldkit is a standardized, open-source software and hardware platform that gives individuals and organizations the tools to collect and share field-based research data and to tell stories through interactive visualizations for conservation, science, exploration and education.
Who is it for?
Scientific Community: low-cost option for researchers from diverse scientific disciplines
Schools: teaching materials and lesson plans to promote engagement with students and teachers
Enforcement Agencies: anti-poaching or acoustic modules can monitor for illegal activity in protected areas
Environmental Activists & Citizen Scientists: Environmental issues arise in many areas where the political or economic interests are at odds with the local community. FieldKit provides a useful tool for individuals to drive local conversation and policy change.
The FieldKit hardware is a robust, solar powered modular system where different sensor modules can be connected to a custom designed core microcontroller module. The current plan for sensor module development includes (but is not limited to) sensors to measure: air quality, weather, water quality, flood dynamics, camera traps, acoustics, nutrient/agricultural runoff, geophones/accelerometers, and much more. Hardware can be purchased as a kit or developed by the user from our open source designs, which can then be deployed in a fixed location, or carried by the user. The senors gather data at the frequency determined by the user, and then send sensor readings to your FieldKit.org instance using cellular, wifi or satellite.
The FieldKit software includes a web platform for collection, storage, visualization and sharing of research data. The user has a public (or private) built-in API, a map-based front-end for data visualization and a configuration interface. The software integrates easily with social media channels and popular Open Science databases.
FieldKit offers both hosted and install-it-yourself versions. Similar to WordPress, users will either be able to host their project with the FieldKit community (ie. myproject.FieldKit.org), or to download and install the software on their own servers (ie. myschool.edu/FieldKit).