Congratulations: Cape Town

Congratulations CAPE TOWN !!

Winner in categories MOST OBSERVATIONS and MOST SPECIES in the international City Nature Challenge organized by the Citizen/Community Science Teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Country.

Well done to everyone who participated! Those who took part! Those who organized events!. Those who planned and arranged everything! Those who helped with identifications. Those that ran courses and workshops. An especial thanks to the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Management Branch, Environmental Management Department who drove the entire show, and brought the entire City on board. To the Cape Town groups of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) and the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) Friends Groups, who - with reserve managers and staff - organized events in our reserves, and outside, and who targeted species in the worst possible time of the year for recording species and went out and made it all happen! And a special mention to Scouts South Africa for contributing almost 10% of our observations and the merpeople whose spectacular marine observations and identifications gave us the cutting edge.
Well done! Give ourselves a great pat on our backs! We did it.

There will be an official thank you from the organizers for those who contributed the most. We did not expect this and have not budgeted for it, so it will be a discreet affair. But we will make plans with social media to share the event with everyone.

And yes, we will be back. But we will be strongly motivating to be allowed to compete in our spring when we can really do justice to our biodiversity in the Mother City!

Posted on 07 May, 2019 05:28 by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo

Comments

And thank you, @tonyrebelo, our master and hero.

Posted by beetledude almost 5 years ago

What a great event to have been a part of..... to everyone who organised the parts that made the whole, the seasoned iNatters who schemed and plotted where to gather their observations, all those intrepid souls who overcame their fear of technology and ventured forth with cell phones and cameras and who posted on iNat for the first time, and not least to all the Identifiers who braved sleep deprivation and burned the midnight oil to add and agree ID's, CONGRATULATIONS we did it!
Thanks @tonyrebelo for keeping us informed and motivated through the whole process

Posted by gigilaidler almost 5 years ago

Thanks Tony and everyone else who helped organise this community - this was fantastic fun, and I learned so much about our biodiversity by being part of this. We've really sent a message to the rest of the world, looking forward to 2020! Woop woop!

Posted by twooceansdevon almost 5 years ago

This was so much fun. Thank you all and especially Tony, Gigi and the behind-the-scenes elves who worked extra hard to get such a brilliant response from Slaapstad. I got so many IDs on observations I didn't have a clue about, a big thank you to all the identifiers. I hope some of it sticks - lots to follow up. I'm so proud of us!!!

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

A pity we did not get the observers to win all three of the major categories.
But we did win convincingly

City with the MOST SPECIES.

We beat our nearest rival Hong Kong by 1000 species. Out of 4500. That is a quarter more!!

And we did this in our off season. One of our major considerations for taking part or not was the fact that this is the very worst time of the year for recording species: Everything is still dormant: the frogs are still aestivating (the late rains are not helping), the bulbs are only just putting out leaves and totally unidentifiable, and the annuals are still just a few leaves. We estimated that almost half our flora would still be below ground for the event. To have so resoundingly outperformed the competition, just belies the fact that we take our extra-ordinary biodiversity for granted. We think it is the norm, whereas in fact we are living on one of the most species rich (for both plants and marine organisms) places on earth. We need to appreciate this, to appreciate the full challenge of trying to conserve it in this rapidly developing city.

City with the MOST OBSERVATIONS.
We best our nearest rival La Paz by 7000 observations.
We are gobsmacked. Our target was what we estimated we needed to win (and it was). But we never really expected Capetonians to come out in such force. CREW, Scouts, WESSA, Kirstenbosch Botanical Society, Cape Town Mountain Club, Two Oceans Aquarium, Girl Guides, Cape Bird Club, Table Mountain Honorary Rangers, Big6 Tourism group all enthusiastically embraced the concept. Cape Herpetological Society and our Freshwaer Biodiversity Unit organized special hunts. The marine fraternity were especially enthusiastic and organized dives and beach surveys. The City of Cape Town embraced the challenge from the top down, opening all their reserves to the public for free for the duration of the event, and providing internet access across the entire library network, and CTEET with its school outreach. City staff from Aldermen to interns took part! Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden provided free entry for anyone with the iNaturalist app loaded on the first day of the event. And the Compton Herbarium taxonomists all mucked in at the end when we realized that we were desperately under-performing with the identifications. It was a great, wonderful celebration
Of course, we had an advantage. Our strong CREW teams who have been monitoring our biodiversity for the last decade knew where to go for all the special species, and organized bioblitzes and outings especially. And the weather could not have been more perfect (although we do desperately want that rain!). Thanks everyone for pulling together and making this so much fun!

A resounding thanks to everyone who took part and achieved this amazing result!

(We came 8th out of 159 cities in number of observers. So on average each user contributed almost 50 observations. That speaks to some dedication and hard work. Many thanks. As observers you were awesome!)

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Our three big organizing teams - that deserve all the credit we can give them - were:

Julia Wood, Eleanor Hutchings, Leighan Mossop, Charmaine Oxtoby & Aamirah Botha - (City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Management Branch, Environmental Management Department)

Gigi Laidler, Megan Smith & Ismail Ebrahim - CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers)

Georgina Jones and various Peninsula diving groups (False Bay Underwater Club, Old Mutual Sub Aqua Club, Bellville Dive Club, BlueFlash, LearnToDiveToday, Cape Town Dive Centre, Pisces Divers, Indigo Scuba & Dive Action)

And of course, everyone else who rallied around and helped and participated in many ways!

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Just want to say a BIG congratulations to everyone mentioned above, and all the unmentioned individuals, and to you @tonyrebelo for organizing and coordinating the CT CNC.
Just goes to show, more to this land/sea than we imagine.
First time. Top of the pile (2/3). Keep up the good work.

Posted by shauns almost 5 years ago

When is the next one, I am sure we can do better, now we all know what is involved. I know I could take lots more pics of various plants that do not necessarily have flowers, but that we all know what they are. Thanks to all who helped and all those who were using Inaturalist for the first time.

Posted by jaynemcd almost 5 years ago

this was so much fun! thank you @tonyrebelo for having been the catalyst who made it all happen .. and so true, given how well we did at the worst time of our year, that we really do take our astounding biodiversity for granted. My hope is that a big proportion of the first timers join the iNaturalist community and that we significantly expand our knowledge of this superbly stunning part of the planet.

Posted by seastung almost 5 years ago

The plot is to photograph plants when in prime condition, have some sort of marker, and then when the Challenge comes around again, one can rephotograph the not-so-lekker-looking plants and reference back to the better observation in the notes section.
This could be a useful tool for identifications of plants during out-of-season observations, but then the re-photo in off-season must really be good quality and show some proper distinguishing features relating to leaves, fruit and other morphology

Posted by gigilaidler almost 5 years ago

Congratulations all!

Posted by kenneth_oberlander almost 5 years ago

Congratulations to all who made this such an astounding success! My special tanks go to Gigi Laidler for sharing her expertise and enthusiasm during the introductory workshop. As a rookie I bagged 115 species in a variety of environments, spent hours editing photos, pouring over websites and books and pestering people with questions to identify my loot. I was wrong many a time, and happy to be corrected by the fundis. I had fun and learnt a lot. I will be back next year, and agree that it should be in a different season every year.

Posted by vanbelle almost 5 years ago

It was Fun!
Thanks to all the organizers for organising so brilliantly.

Posted by andrewm almost 5 years ago

We really enjoyed being part of this event. Thank you to everyone who organised and promoted this event. We are now motivated to document the biodiversity at our school throughout the year.

Posted by pinelandshighschool almost 5 years ago

Thanks to Gigi's enthusiasm and encouragement I learned a lot about plants and technology.
Really enjoyed the Challenge!

Posted by moiratruter almost 5 years ago

Tony, you and Gigi were the absolute heroes. You inspired and motivated us all.
Thank You!!

Posted by margaretacea almost 5 years ago

Huge congrats, Team Cape Town! And many thanks, Tony, and all the individuals and organisations you have named who drove this and put so much energy into getting Capetonians involved in our first CNC. It is heartening to have had so much support from the City at all levels, and from various interest groups. Winning both the Most Observations and the Most Species categories is a spectacular success, and all the more so precisely because we didn't win in Most Observers (currently seventh, but maybe the stats have continued to change post deadline). That makes the wins in the other two categories so much more emphatic and tells its own story about our biodiversity. "We did not expect this." I was not sure what to expect, but it has been so much fun to watch us blowing the others out of the water! That is what I had hoped would unfold, but it could not have happened without the incredible collective efforts to get people enthused, and involved.
It was so much fun to get out there, both alone and with good friends, racing around sharing favourites and searching for specials. And then beavering away into the night, uploading and IDing, and feeling very much part of an amazing community of professional and amateur naturalists, all sharing their time and knowledge and enthusiasm. I tried hard to open my eyes to things I don't usually pay attention to; I was reminded how little I know, and how much I want to learn; I was simultaneously uplifted by what we have on our doorstep, and demoralised by how badly we are mucking it up, and then consoled by how many people are passionate about conservation. I regret that the sheer scale of things means I will have missed many gems that have been posted over this time. I am grateful to the many unsung heroes in this enormous team, who contributed their expertise in helping with IDs (including, but not limited to, my own observations). When we have so much to be bleak about, it is good to have fallen in love with the Mother City all over again! Thank you, all.

Posted by muonmo almost 5 years ago

Everyone has said it all already! Thanks to everyone and especially the organizers. Our nature is a continuous source of joy and of course winning is amazing!

Posted by vfrith almost 5 years ago

An awesome effort at a bad time of the year. @vynbos , just a stunning marathon effort! Some truly great obs, the leopard, the cobra, the otter, the penguins and interesting insects. This years record is next years benchmark so the time to start planning for the next Challenge should be as soon as everybody has caught up on missed sleep.

Posted by colin25 almost 5 years ago

Well done to all, especially Tony and Gigi for helping make it such a success. Lets hope the City of Cape Town and S.A. will make the most of this publicity opportunity and claim our unique spot in the world of biodiversity.

Posted by richardadcock almost 5 years ago

Press releases:
http://www.capetown.gov.za/Media-and-news/Cape%20Town%20winner%20in%20City%20Nature%20Challenge%20thanks%20to%20residents

Cape Town winner in City Nature Challenge thanks to residents
07 May 2019

The City of Cape Town is proud to announce that Cape Town is the official winner of two categories in the 2019 City Nature Challenge. Cape Town came out tops in the categories for making the most observations and recording the most species. This international competition saw over 150 cities from around the world compete to see who could make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people.

Cape Town has won the most recorded observations and most recorded species categories of the 2019 City Nature Challenge.

Together, Cape Town participants were able to record an impressive 53 775 observations and 4 587 species across the city. Runners up in the recorded observations category were La Paz, Bolivia, with 46 931 observations’ and San Diego, USA, with 38 241. In the recorded species category runners up were Hong Kong with 3 596 species; and Houston, USA, with 3 367.

‘Capetonians really went out and showed the world what incredible biodiversity our city has to offer. Cape Town certainly rose to the challenge, considering that we are entering autumn and there were over 150 cities competing, many of which are in the throes of spring. I want to thank each and every resident and visitor who took the time to explore our pristine natural environment and for capturing the beauty and life they encountered. We’re extremely proud to be hosting a globally recognised and important biodiversity,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

‘Thank you Cape Town, and very well done for putting our city on one of the top spots on the international biodiversity map. I think this challenge has reminded many of our residents how privileged we are to call this beautiful region of the world our home. The City is proud of its more than 20 nature reserves across the metro. I urge residents to explore these nature conservation areas, embrace the natural beauty we have on our doorsteps but often overlook, and to be custodians of our unique environment,’ said the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

The competition took place between 26 April and 29 April 2019. Capetonians were encouraged to explore the City’s nature reserves and natural open spaces, and to record all of the local plant and animal species that they spotted over the four days. Participants were required to download the iNaturalist.com app and then had to share their observations by uploading all of their findings on the app.

The City coordinated numerous activities during the course of the challenge, among which tours of the reserves with local experts. The reserves were open to those interested in recording their observations of plant and animal life over the four days.

For a list of all of the City’s reserves and details about their location, facilities and attractions, please visit http://www.capetown.gov.za/Explore%20and%20enjoy/See-all-City-facilities/Our-recreational-facilities/Nature%20reserves

The top 20 species recorded included :

Osteospermum moniliferum, or Bietou
Carpobrotus edulis, or Edible Sourfig
Leonotis leonurus, or Wild Dagga
Protea repens, or Common Sugarbush
Tecomaria capensis, or Cape Honeysuckle
Apis mellifera, or Western Honey Bee
Protea cynaroides, or King Protea
Leucadendron salignum, or Common Sunshine Conebush
Pelargonium capitatum, or Rose-scented Geranium
Cotyledon orbiculata, or Pig Ears
Eriocephalus africanus, or Wild Rosemary
Alopochen aegyptiaca, or Egyptian Goose
Numida meleagris, or Helmeted Guineafowl
Portulacaria afra, or Spekboom
Erica plukenetii, orHangertjie
Aloe arborescens, or Krantz Aloe
Strelitzia reginae, or Bird of Paradise plant
Pelargonium cucullatum, or Hooded Storksbill
Acraea horta, or Garden Acraea
Leucadendron laureolum, or Golden Sunshine Bush

End

Published by:
City of Cape Town, Media Office

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Greetings CREW Volunteers and Interested Parties,

Thank you!
https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/24669-congratulations-cape-town

Specially for those of you who were able to take part in the recent City Nature Challenge…..

So what comes after the heady euphoria of four days of intensive bioblitzing of Cape Town’s incredible biodiversity for the City Nature Challenge 2019?

….. a race to upload and identify 53,960 Observations…..

And then the even more heady euphoria as realisation sets in that we did it – Cape Town won the categories that count – the most number of species – an amazing tally of 4,145 – nearly 1,000 more than our closest rivals, Hong Kong, and the most observations, an astounding 6,787 more than La Paz, our closest competitor, from super biodiverse South America.

A huge thank you to every one of you who made this achievement possible by taking on the Challenge of taking pictures and uploading them on iNaturalist, and then tackling the mammoth task of doing all the identifications. There are many unsung heros among you who went to great lengths to get those rare and unusual observations, often travelling to really remote parts of the City’s reserves to get one or two species, and those who burnt the midnight oil over the past ten days, slogging away at the identifications, helping us reach our goals and making most (74%) of our species Research Grade.

And a special note of encouragement to the novices among you who dared venture to untested waters of using the App for the first time, and others who uploaded their images to iNaturalist on their computers for the first time – you did great, and some of you excelled with posting lots of fantastic observations. We could not have reached the heights we did without you.

Granted, some observations do leave room for improvement, but only by doing, and practicing, and learning from mistakes, can your observations get better. So take heart, and take more and better pictures, and start practicing now for the next challenge when we get another chance to prove to the world that the Mother City is the best place to be. Even if we no longer have elephants, rhinos and lions roaming our wild areas, we still have a lot of very special wildlife to love and to protect, and you can only protect something if it is known, and that comes from sharing your observations on iNaturalist!

So, now that more of you are aware of the wonders of iNaturalist, please do take photos of the plants (and animals) you see in the undeveloped areas around you and post them on iNat. We particularly need records of our Redlisted species for the database, as we can only protect them if we have hard evidence of where they are, and that is what the work of CREW is all about, and every contribution helps improve our understanding of the precarious status of our biodiversity.

Best wishes,

Gigi

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

We on the other side of our planet (Texas, in my case) sure enjoyed seeing the observations coming out of Cape Town too! Exceptional job to all! Thanks for sharing all of these observations. Several of us want to come and visit now too! :)

Posted by sambiology almost 5 years ago

That was fun and exhausting, thanks Tony and Gigi for your sterling work in getting so many people motivated.
And thank you everyone who helped ID my obs and so push my spp count up, esp @cmerry who ID twice as many of my obs as anyone else.
Seeing the results were a bit of a let-down. We want bragging rights too! iNat should add to the healthy competitiveness of the challenge by giving those who added 100 or more obs to the winning city a bit of coveted bling by their username for the year.
Next year, please can we have it in spring? What a waste to introduce new people to our fauna and flora only to offer them a veld full of leaves.

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

Just a quick note about @vynbos - his more than 4000 observations blew my mind : that is over 1000 obs per day! Imagine taking 1000 pictures in one day, and then repeating that over the next 3 days as well. And this while doing some pretty strenuous climbing. Then uploading them all ... I enjoyed ID'ing his obs as it gave me a chance to see all the amazing places he went to in those 4 days. OK some photos were a bit blurred and quite a challenge to id, but given the circumstances that was forgivable. Now we need to id all the pictures that escaped the first time!

Posted by cmerry almost 5 years ago

@vynbos you did an absolutely amazing job in your quest for bagging the most observations and species.... especially after hoodwinking me about your ability to commit to the Challenge in the first place. Congratulations on your astounding tally over the four days and thanks for your part in helping Cape Town take the honours. We appreciate your effort, which clearly took a lot of planning.
Here's looking forward to the next time, and being able to build on lessons learned from this experience

Posted by gigilaidler almost 5 years ago

I have been discussing the event with various people and we all think that a big part of what made the event exciting was the idea that ALL the cities in the world were taking part at the same time. And while I agree that of course for us, being in autumn means we miss a whole bunch of species, I think that maybe it makes sense rather than having a staggered event next time, to have events at different months in different years - maybe have a four year cycle: next year in July, the following year in October, then April, then January and so on? So that overall the competing cities get to give seasonal variants in their entries as well and time takes care of teh differences in seasons around the world

Posted by seastung almost 5 years ago

Four year cycle sounds good to me. I can't imagine repeating the exact same exercise at the exact same time of the year with the same amount of energy next year. I'm sure that for everyone involved it would be much more fun to do this kind of intensive survey at different times each year, and we'd learn more from it. That also sounds like the fairest possible way to give all the cities an equal chance over time.

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

@sambiology Come in our spring. You ain't seen nothin' yet! This was just a teaser... ;)

Posted by muonmo almost 5 years ago

or maybe even a twelve year cycle with the event thirteen months apart each time? and then you have the advantage of getting a really nice seasonal look at occurrences over the year

Posted by seastung almost 5 years ago

For best eventual coverage of biodiversity, there should be a competition in every month. An 11 or 13 month cycle will do that over 11 or 13 years respectively. I think an 11 month recovery period is probably enough for most people, so I would suggest an 11 month cycle to get the full collection a bit earlier. 7 month might be a bit much, but could also work. One other thing I will say is that for me the most work was identifications, by a huge margin. Anyone can take photos and upload them, but the real work is in the IDs

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

It would help a lot with IDs if there was a way to warn the user that a species found by the id gadget or suggested for any other reason is not known from the area. I saw a lot of "impossible" identifications based on common names which are not valid for a region, or even shared between a mollusc and a plant. These are big time-wasters

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

Another comment. Observations without a photo or sound clip. What is the point? They are so open to error or fraud that they are useless. They should not contribute to a competition result at all.

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

Agreed with @pbsouthwood - the number of impossible/unlikely ID's, obviously prioritising a non-local species pool, was incredibly high and required lots of time and effort to correct (in fact I'm pretty sure a substantial percentage are still not corrected)...and this was just for the one plant genus I had time for. Is there a way to get automatic ID's to find best candidates from the local biota, or at worst to flag as suggested?

Posted by kenneth_oberlander almost 5 years ago

Next time the ID tool will be trained on southern African data, so this should not be so bad an issue, even assuming image recognition does not improve in the interim. The current set was not trained on southern African data, but the terrestrial people did not have so torrid a time as a substantial number of our plants (and animals) are grown in California. When our marine organisms are loaded it should perform much better. But it is a training issue too: users should select from the "seen nearby" options, rather than just the top option.
Also, iNaturalist has not yet loaded our local common names: that should also happen soon. Too late for CNC 2019 - but definitely in or CNC 2020!! That does mean that a lot of our common names will have multiple selections.

So hopefully, these issues will be less serious next year.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Hopefully next time we will also have a bigger core of more experienced Users who will be posting more and better observations. I think we had a lot of novices posting this year which contributed to a higher number of less satisfactory observations and images.

Posted by gigilaidler almost 5 years ago

The final assessment is still a way off. I think we need to remember it is not the quality of the picture per se, but the quality in terms of making a definitive ID. So perfect pictures are not necessarily a crucial goal. But no matter how good a picture, if an ID cannot be made, then it is no so good. At the end of the day it is a balance about how much fun we had collecting the pictures on the one hand, and on the other, afterwards how much more we know and how useful the data are to managers.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Good to know - that should make things much easier next time.

By the way, I think I was the only person happy with the chosen time of year!

Posted by kenneth_oberlander almost 5 years ago

@tonyrebelo ,
a) What final assessment is that?
b) No matter how good the image, and how much detail it shows, if the species has not been described and published in a reasonably usable and accessible field guide, it is not going to be identified, and some are just not going to be identifiable from a photo. Other species are immediately recognisable from a blurry partial image in poor light to someone who knows them well. It is still worth uploading good images of inidentifiable organisms, because who knows, they may be useful for something
c) I am glad to hear that the tools will be better. I hope they will be enough better, specially if we get a lot more observations.. It would be useful to be able to overrule a clearly wrong identification, so that it doesn't hold back the quality unnecessarily. Like Marthasterias glacialis, which was chosen mainly because people were not up do date on name changes. or the creeper which is a mollusc which was selected as an ID for a creeper plant a few times.
@gigilaidler ,
If the same number of users upload 100 observations each next time we will really be in trouble identifying them. Still, there are worse kinds of trouble to be in. By then I should have faster internet too.

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

But (https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/47758-Oxalis + region = City of Cape Town + seasonality = relative ) you would be happiest in June-July?

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

@pbsouthwood - a) I will do a report in June. But what I meant is that we will only know details of species and abundance and problems in a few months time when we have slowly worked through the identifications more carefully.
b) imho - many undescribed species are more likely to be incorrectly identified than left unidentified.
c) we will be more organized next time. The insect group had a team of 3-4 people who were called (@~) to clear maverick and bad identifications. That worked quite well, provided people only call them for really bad IDs at species level, and even more rarely for higher taxon IDs, otherwise time is lost making IDs by sorting out "issues" of little significance to the Challenge (no matter how important otherwise, it can wait!).
d (gigi) - we will be more organized next time. Our first two days of identification parties were spent helping users with uploading issues. We need to farm this off to IT types and keep our experts free for IDs. That is more than 3500 IDs fewer than we intended!

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Another thing that would be interesting to know is what was the server load like? Was it pushing the capacity, or was there enough slack to take quite a lot more? How did it compare with normal service loads?
Four days seems a reasonable period for taking the photos, but is the current allocation enough for uploading and identifying? This may depend on server capacity, but also on local upload speeds, specially for those of us who are using non-phone cameras, like everyone who takes subtidal photos. Some have compromised by uploading smaller images, but in quite a few cases this made it impossible to identify, where the original photo would have contained enough detail. There is no time to do it twice.
A certain amount of time after the cutoff time for uploads should be allowed for identifications, but how much? More time = more IDs, but asymptotically. There will be a period where lots will happen then it will flatten off. A graph of this would be interesting, possibly even useful to indicate how much more identification time might be useful.
*Identifications of one's own uploads should be counted towards the score. Otherwise it makes more competition sense to not identify one's own observations. I don't know whether an agreement counts the same as a new identification, but it should not. An agreement is much easier and quicker than trying to make a better identification, and if one follows the experts around a big score could be chalked up by adding agreements. On the other hand, agreements are essential for observation quality , to get to research level, so they must count some points. Maybe half? A similar rule could be used to weight IDs of own observations.
*A little clarity on what counts as an observation would be good too. I could have uploaded double the number of observations if same species and same basic dive site location within a few metres and minutes is acceptable. I noticed that some uploads were as different observations of the same animal at much the same place on the same dive. Is this useful? Is it allowed by the rules? Should we be doing it?

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

@tonyrebelo link doesn't work. By the way, when I try to search using "City of Cape Town", iNat shows "Cape Town Marine", with obviously zero hits. Any ideas why?

Sorry for diverting off topic...

Posted by kenneth_oberlander almost 5 years ago

I see we are on the steep part of the learning curve here. At the wrong time of the year. With a few strategic errors. With a large proportion of newbies. And still we came top of the list on the two big items. In fact this is even more impressive considering we have the handicap of a relatively small number of observers.
I didn't notice, are there stats for average observations per observer and average species per observer?

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

We will need to encourage people to be more strategic about doing IDs. There is no value in 10 people agreeing on a Family or Genus on one observation, when they could be more effective in finding species to Agree to Research Grade, or adding fresh correct IDs to incoming unidentified observations that are easy to ID.

Also, if people can ID blank observations to genus or family, that can also help channel observations towards more expert IDs without them having to trawl through masses of blank IDs that could be anything, to find their own taxa

Posted by gigilaidler almost 5 years ago

Were the biology departments of local universities and colleges involved at all?

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

@kestrel & @lhiggins, as the CNC co-organizers, this discussion has some ideas that might be useful to you. Certainly Cape Town has embraced your challenge!

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

"There is no value in 10 people agreeing on a Family or Genus" -- I did wonder about that. Should we have marked those obs as "it's as good as can be" in the Data Assessment panel to prevent people wasting their time on them? (Tony suggested that it's up to us to decide, but I'm not seeing experts doing so as a rule of thumb)
I also wondered about taxa that were never going to get a species level ID, did they just not count? I saw so many different spiders for instance, and had I not taken pics and loaded all of them there is a large chunk of new knowledge and fun I would have missed out on. The spider ladies (@joanfaiola and @arachnophile) were incredibly patient and helpful in getting many of our spider obs to species level, but had I known for sure that genus and family level counts for nothing I would have left them out altogether as we rarely get species IDs for especially the smaller spiders. Ditto that for many of our insects and other creepy crawlies.

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

@magrietb - did you not follow instructions at https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/24406-update-please-finish-uploading-and-help-us-id

we changed our strategy several times during the identifications phase. But the links would have allowed you to choose to:
generalists: to take observations from unknown to family or genus level so that the experts could tackle it.
specialists: to take observations from 1. in their group to as low a level as possible.
If you were using the Identify tool, iNaturalist would have managed your curation and organized your workload. Especially useful is the option after quickly scanning a page for observations that you could ID, to mark them all as reviewed, allowing you to banish them from your workload. The identification parties provided training in the ID tool.
All observations counted as observations. If we were totally mercenary, we would then only have identified one observation of each species to species level and hunted for new species to identify. Fortunately we were also chasing the target for high proportion of observations identified to species level, otherwise the event would have kept us busy identifying for years to come.
The value of agreeing to higher levels is that it both marks the observation as reviewed, and confirms the ID. It is extremely useful, and with the ID tool hotkeys takes about 0.3s to do.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

@pbsouthwood - "I didn't notice, are there stats for average observations per observer and average species per observer?"

A large amount of statistics was provided by the organizers, including corrections for area and population. If you desire I can send you the spreadsheets.

The specific items you request are easy to calculate from the leaderboards, but I suspect you would like to see all the teams in descending order by those metrics.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

@tonyrebelo Yes my maths is up to doing it for myself where the data is available, I was wondering whether this was a published statistic for all the teams. It is the sort of thing someone with database access should be able to make all sorts of pretty graphs and tables about., and compare them year by year. There might even be some useful information hidden in there.
Please send the spreadsheets, I would like to see what they have done. After all they took the trouble to do it, so it would be nice for some of us to look at it.

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

The published data is all in the infograph. The full details were just provided to the organizers.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

@kenneth_oberlander link works fine.

for place use: "city of cape town" - typing "cape town" will not find it.
on the graph cog choose: "show relatve proportions ..."

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Ah but beware the Agree hotkey in the Identify tool, I've made a few big blunders!
It would be useful if there was an option to view the observations as a list within the Identify tool, with larger tiles similar to our Dashboard giving info about who made which IDs and including the same Agree hotkey and ability to open the ob in a floating window thing.
But for me this was only really an issue during the challenge when one couldn't possibly look at everything.
I still don't know if it's good or bad to mark something as "good as can be" when all the experts have agreed to a high level ID and we know that we can't improve it without more information - why is nobody doing it?

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

Got the spreadsheet. That is quite a lot of information. Some of it quite interesting. Recommended to stats nerds with a bit of free time.

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

@magrietb Who would decide that it is as good as can be? How would it be marked?

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

On a different topic, I just want to say how annoyed I get with people who post pictures of species that could not possibly be flowering now, like Disa uniflora and Disa graminiflora, with dates that fall in the window of 26-29 April. Can anything be done about this? It makes a mockery of all the effort people have gone to to photograph special species.

Posted by cmerry almost 5 years ago

@cmerry if it is clear that the date is inaccurate you can mark it as such which turns it into a casual observation.

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

@pbsouthwood There is a Data Quality Assessment box at the very bottom of the observation, and at the very bottom of that it says "Based on the evidence, can the Community ID still be confirmed or improved?" with a box for Yes and a box for No, it's as good as it can be. I'm not too stressed about it, just during the challenge I kept opening obs that fell into the Needs ID filter, only to find it's identified by the taxon's expert to family level or higher with 10 agreements.

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

Some broader thoughts from reading the comments.
1) FUN: a very crucial element and it needs to be highlighted.
2) Motivated to continue monitoring
3)Learnt a lot
4) Several of us want to come and visit to.(from Texas)

Mission accomplished on getting many new users, with long term plans to stay, added knowledge to many, added to the data base and promoted tourism internationally. All while having FUN? A bargain!

Time of year, depends on latitude, altitude, rainfall patterns and would agree with a rolling monthly concept, possibly starting around the equinoxes/solstices as a starting point.

Target groups for next event more schools, universities and technicons, camera clubs/professional photographers (they could submit their rejects and keep their prize winning photos, if they so wished).

Posted by colin25 almost 5 years ago

The problem with a rolling month approach is that the organisers already came into some flak for having it in April while some areas of the US was undergoing some severe late winter weather, making it dangerous for kids to go out looking for obs. So I can't see Europe or the US accepting a midwinter CNC.
Are any other cities in SA going to join in? How about George, @colin25?

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

Are any other cities in SA going to join in?
The Scouts joined the party on the express condition that we would try and make this "national" next year. Cape Town needs to issue "the Challenge" to Durban and Jo'burg at the very least, and perhaps Pretoria, PE and Bloemfontein as well. I cannot imagine the smaller cities joining in quite yet, but who knows. It would also be nice of Windhoek, Gaberone and Harare took part.
I should stress though, that even in Cape Town we had serious issues with bandwidth and uploading. One really needs Free Fibre to participate. I dont think the first world even understands the challenge for us in southern Africa (and this year for Cape Town) for people to participate. You either have to pay through your teeth, or cue everything until one gets home to a fibre wifi area. In Europe and America "data" are free and everywhere hosts access. We had to make the City Libraries and Kirstenbosch available to participants, although many people paid handsomely and willingly to participate in the challenge. Some people deprecated their photographs to participate: hopefully some of them will load more decent quality pictures over the next few weeks, especially for those observations that could not be identified due to quality issues.
I think that this will be a serious bottleneck for many of the smaller cities to participate in the City Nature Challenge.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

" post pictures of species that could not possibly be flowering now, "
Please make comments on these. If it is cheating, it is simply unacceptable. We dont need or want such contributions ever!
But please double check before accusing anyone of any misdemeanour, be pleasant and fair, and leave yourself an escape route for bloeps like misidentifying the plant, or misreading the date, or any embarrassing misunderstandings.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Another issue, unless we start to get more rigorous about making sure non-wild obs are marked as such, we are going to break our ID tools.

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

"It would be useful if there was an option to view the observations as a list within the Identify tool, with .."
It sounds like you are not using the tool to its full potential.
Will you be at the CREW workshop on the ID tool on Friday this week?

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Giving some very serious thought to either George Municipality or Garden Route District Municipality entering the next event, when ever it may be. Not sure how the rules work, if a District Municipality would be allowed? Awesome potential if it would be allowed, includes most of the Little Karoo. I see that there is a category for "Small Cities" based on population? Problems would be data and further extending the limited identifiers even further? I dunno, but would love to give it a go!

Posted by colin25 almost 5 years ago

"problem with a rolling month approach ... some flak ... for having it ... while some areas ... severe late winter weather ... "
The rolling month approach will see some cities dipping out. But many far latitude cities dip out already. And not all cities need participate every year. The month delay/previous rolling approach could easily be replaced by a quarterly rolling approach (i.e. spring, summer, autumn, winter) which will allow different cities to take different approaches between years, with a focus in to being on the leaderboard in some seasons, to doing serious monitoring in others, to doing some fun focussed activities in others and so forth. It should not all be about winning , but participating.
Already some of our reserve managers are pointing out that we now have a fantastic stock of identified photographs of plants out of the flowering season This will be an immense help with identification for field studies outside of spring - such as for interns or long-term monitoring. So our being at a disadvantage of not being in our spring has benefited us immensely already. It is not a bad thing to have to plan and strategize for - for us anyway - the worse time of the year! Who knows, some far northern cities may discover that all their trees can be identified by their bare branches?

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

"Not sure how the rules work, if a District Municipality would be allowed"
Have a look at the areas that entered. I dont think all are towns, sensum strictum. I am sure that there are precedents.
Oh dear! Does this mean that next year we will have serious competition?

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

Don't worry about being small numbers of people Colin, did you read the blurb the organisers wrote about the results? https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019/journal . They love the small towns and crunch the numbers to show how well the small cities did. Not a mention of the newcomers CT and La Paz doing so well. It was all Tena this and Tena that. So go for it.

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

@tonyrebelo Yes! Imagine the forests, the Outeniquas, the Little Karoo, Gamkasberg, Kammansie, the southern slopes of the Swartberg, the Lakes and estuaries this area covers.

Posted by colin25 almost 5 years ago

@tonyrebelo
"Oh dear! Does this mean that next year we will have serious competition?"
If the Garden Route can come on board, Cape Town be happy with second place. hehe

Posted by shauns almost 5 years ago

I guess it comes down to what the intended purpose of the CNC is, and what format is best suited to realising that purpose.
It may be that two competitions would serve the purpose better, or a range of competitions. First thing is to identify what the real purpose is, as it may not be what it looks like.

Posted by pbsouthwood almost 5 years ago

"It sounds like you are not using the tool to its full potential. Will you be at the CREW workshop on the ID tool on Friday this week?" >> Sounds like I need it! Will it be before registration on Friday afternoon, like last year? I might have to bribe my lift.

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

Most likely yes! Will discuss with Ismail tomorrow. It can be our CREW CNC debriefing as well. We can discuss how you guys interpreted our strategies, and if you could follow them.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

I've just noticed there are a couple of iNat sessions on Sunday morning, according to the draft programme Ismail sent out.
iNat identification tool – Tony Rebelo
iNat CREW site sheet – Ismail Ebrahim

Posted by magrietb almost 5 years ago

May I drop a political comment? It is very obvious that the poorer/township parts of CT didn't participate much. That's a matter of preference as well as opportunity, and we can affect the latter by (a) involving schools and (b) helping with costs, especially bandwidth.

Posted by henrilaurie almost 5 years ago

I would prefer the Agreement to be either not counted as an identification (or maybe 5 x Agree = 1 ID). I sit high on the lists - but that can only be counting that I am able to confirm an ID, where someone earlier should get the actual credit.

Posted by dianastuder almost 5 years ago

Based on the heat map: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/map#8/-33.228/22.161 a coalition of Paarl/Stellenbosch to Hermanus will best give Cape Town a run for its money.

It would be good to get some rivalry between similar sized towns in the same region e.g. George to Knysna vs PE, Joburg vs Pretoria, or Durbs vs maybe PMB? Any others anyone has noticed?

Cities in other southern African countries might be difficult at the moment - hots spots are mostly around holiday destinations or one or two resident natters. Perhaps everyone goes on holiday to the same spot for 4 days next year and then head back to your fancy wifi? (Pick Maun!)

All identifications can be tackled together as a team with a with an Umbrella Project for all participating southern African cities.

Posted by robert_taylor almost 5 years ago

woah, @karoopixie has her own impressive hot spot. What a weird postage stamp obscured obs make.

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

times two!!! That is why I prefer all the obscured observations to go to a single point every 10km.

Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

we now have an url to remove obscured pins "&taxon_geoprivacy=open&geoprivacy=open" but i don't know how to use it with the map function.
see discussion: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/toggle-obscured-observations-on-off-on-maps/420/3?

Posted by vynbos almost 5 years ago

We should be able to get a lot of new data if we repeated the exercise (the Inter-City Challenge) in 18 months time - by that I mean 18 months after this last one. To me that would be a really valuable undertaking - much more so than repeating in a year's time. It would be valuable for all concerned as they would all (Spring or Autumn) get different records - see different things growing. So repeating the contest every 18 months means that you get to look at the same flowering plants every 3 years, which itself is interesting to compare developments.

Also for those who worked very hard on this contest it would give them more time to recover and prepare - twice in three years is manageable!

Posted by cmerry almost 5 years ago
Posted by tonyrebelo almost 5 years ago

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