There’s an App for that…

As Christine shared via our last post, one of our 2017 goals is to implement OWRMD into wildlife spill response operations.  Having electronic medical records is a huge step forward for both rapid and efficient information flow, as well as an immediate tool for analyzing our processes and methods in a quantitative fashion.

To ensure that our care side of operations doesn’t have all the fun, our OWCN field operations staff have been working with our colleagues at the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in developing and refining a smart phone application that will aid in starting that electronic data gathering process from the moment we collect oiled wildlife.  This new tool will eventually replace our paper data forms, allowing wildlife recovery responders to head out with essential capture equipment and iPhones preloaded with the Wildlife Recovery application.


The key pieces of information that can be gathered via the Wildlife Recovery app include:

  • GPS coordinates
  • Type (Bird, marine mammal, herptile, etc)
  • SubType (Pelican, Gull, etc)
  • Additional notes (such as species, if known)
  • Location Description (extra info regarding location of capture)
  • Condition (alive or dead)
  • Photos
  • Scanning QR Codes

That last piece of information may seem odd (aren’t QR codes used to scan my items at the grocery store?), but in fact we are working with them as unique identifiers for our animal patients.  So essentially we can gather key info, snap a photo, and scan a QR code pre-printed on a sticker that we in turn can attach to the carrier.  Then, upon arrival at the primary care facility, care staff can scan the QR code which will automatically identify that animal and connect it with all that key info, GPS coordinates and photos within the OWRMD system.  Pretty cool, huh?

But wait…there’s more.  On top of digitalizing the data gathering process from start to finish, it also provides an easy way to track our efforts through the app.  As recovery responders search beaches or ravines for oiled wildlife, the app tracks their movements, including any points in which they collect oiled wildlife or make notable observations.  This creates a track map that is very helpful in summarizing our efforts and identifying any gaps in coverage.


And while there is much more to share on this, the details will have to wait until we finalize the application and begin training responders on its use in the field next year.

Figured a futuristic post would fit well as we head into the future year of 2017.  Hope you all have a wonderful last few days of 2016!


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