iSpot Southern Africa launched today in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) which leads and coordinates research, and monitors and reports on the state of biodiversity in South Africa.
iSpot lets users take a photograph of unknown fauna or flora, upload it to the site and ask the community to help identify and verify observations. iSpot Southern Africa launches with a lively existing community of over 800 users who have already submitted over 15,000 observations and 30,000 photographs to date.
Jonathan Silvertown, Director of iSpot at The Open University said: “All of us at iSpot HQ in the UK are very excited about the launch which gives this Open University site a truly global presence. South Africa has a natural heritage that is second to none and we are proud to support SANBI’s heroic efforts to conserve this biodiversity.
"We look forward to working with them over the coming years to make iSpot better and better, so that more and more people can learn to identify species.”
The site is linked to the Encyclopaedia of Life and the South African Red List of Plants. New developments on the site are constantly being made- such as the interactive map function which allows users to filter observations, and the common and scientific name dictionaries.
SANBI’s vision is to see iSpot grow a new generation of biodiversity ambassadors who actively contribute to the conservation of our rich natural heritage.
Visit iSpot southern Africa at http://www.ispot.org.za/ to find out more and begin making a difference by iSpotting.
About The Open University
Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 21 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 50 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, The Secret History of Our Streets and Empire.
About The OU in Africa
HEAT is an accelerated and scalable Healthcare Education and Training programme for frontline healthcare workers, providing them with vital healthcare skills and enabling them to stay living and working in their communities while learning. The programme launched in Ethiopia in 2011, with £4m UNICEF funding and in close partnership with the Ethiopian Government, the World Health Organisation and AMREF. Discussions are now underway to replicate the model across sub-Saharan Africa, helping the region reach and train the 1 million additional health workers needed to reach its Millennium Development Goals.