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EarthRanger Mobile: The New App Empowering Conservationists in the Field

EarthRanger's newest offering changes how conservationists help endangered wildlife and the communities that protect them. 

Jes Lefcourt, EarthRanger's director, shows Save the Elephant's David Daballen the new EarthRanger mobile app. Photo courtesy Jane Wynyard of Save the Elephants.

Since its launch in 2015, EarthRanger has provided a real-time data platform to help conservationists around the world make more informed operational decisions and better protect wildlife. For many EarthRanger users, accessing our web-based software has changed how protected area managers, operations teams, ecologists, and wildlife biologists collect, analyze, and then take action on that data. It's helping them uncover new insights and trends and collaborate across borders, bridging conservation divides. But as EarthRanger has worked closely with organizations protecting wildlife and their habitats, we've seen firsthand how new technology can be a catalyst for healthy landscapes and societies. That’s why we’ve developed the EarthRanger mobile app: the next step toward the future of conservation.

Developed in partnership with the Mara Elephant Project and leveraging the input of hundreds of conservation organizations, the mobile app's release marks a next phase for EarthRanger, extending the unique value and power of the platform from the command center to the hands of those on the ground, all in one seamless experience. With zero setup, current and future EarthRanger users can immediately leverage the app’s range of innovative features able to improve the way they keep personnel safe and make decisions.

"EarthRanger mobile is a critical tool in our elephant conservation work. It allows us to track vehicles, aircraft and ranger teams in real-time as well as to record events such as elephant sightings or conflict incidents," says Dr. Jake Wall, Mara Elephant Project's Director of Research and Conservation and co-founder of EarthRanger. "The ability to collect data offline while in remote areas and synchronize when back online makes it extremely effective for wilderness use."

EarthRanger has long given its users the ability to combine tracking from many devices – a feature that helps conservationists see the location of specific animals, personnel or assets and anticipate where they may go next. This bird's eye view of their conservation area is keeping wildlife safe and helping to understand their behaviors. Now, with the mobile app, those in the field can generate real-time tracks right from the convenience and accessibility of their smartphone without the requirement of specialized hardware. Even when working in remote locations with limited or no connectivity, conservationists can rely on the mobile app and its robust offline capabilities. In these instances, conservationists can collect a record of their positions and headings offline, and the app will automatically sync when network connectivity is restored. Thanks to the app's sophisticated algorithms, it can accurately detect whether a device is traveling by foot, in a car, or from the air, providing the level of location accuracy and context required, as well as minimizing battery usage. 

EarthRanger mobile's tracking functionality at work in Kenya's Masai Mara. Photo courtesy Jake Wall, Mara Elephant Project

"These real-time and offline insights enable conservationists to keep tabs on where those in the field are and have been," said Dan O'Neill, the EarthRanger mobile app’s lead software engineer. "With this app, we're improving how conservationists respond to emergencies and identify potential risks, helping protect both personnel and the natural habitats they are working to preserve."

One of the critical features of the new EarthRanger mobile app is that it closes the loop on data collection from the point of incidence to the operation room to offsite research teams. Compatible with smartphones running iOS and Android, the all-in-one app provides those on the ground with a real-time data collection tool, streamlining this process and putting actionable information into the hands of the people who need it most – wherever and whenever they need it. 

Do you currently use EarthRanger? Download the EarthRanger mobile app in Google Play Apps or the App Store

The app integrates mobile devices with the web-based dashboard to optimize data collection, analysis, and operational workflows. Rangers, personnel, and research teams can collect and submit detailed reports with precise locations, details, and photos. Coordinating team members can immediately view the reports coming from all field team members through the EarthRanger web dashboard. The app also introduces a new feature to EarthRanger: allowing users to describe the full extent of the area of an incident that a single coordinate couldn't otherwise tell. In the EarthRanger mobile app, one can record themselves walking the perimeter of a farm recently ruined by an elephant or on a boat circling an oil slick to determine the extent of the spill and track where it is traveling to protect environmentally or culturally sensitive areas. Whether a user is tracking the size of an oil spill, a fence break, or a human-wildlife interaction, the EarthRanger mobile app makes filing reports from the field easy, empowering entire organizations to be part of the mission.

"When tanker Princess Empress sank spilling 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, biodiversity in more than 20 marine protected areas and hundreds of fishing communities were threatened,” said Bonifacio Tobias, Blue Alliance General Manager. “This mobile app transformed how we responded providing our Blue Alliance Key Ocean Defenders and Bantay Dagat (Community Fish Wardens) with the real-time tracking and data collection features such as geotagged images of oil slicks that helped us monitor and direct our cleanup efforts to affected areas. With EarthRanger, we are making more informed decisions and working together more effectively as a team, and with our communities, ultimately leading to better outcomes for wildlife and people."

A Bantay Dagat uses the mobile app to track an oil spill in the Philippines. Photo courtesy: Blue Alliance Philippines

The mobile app is just the start of exploring the range of EarthRanger tools for effective conservation management. As the app evolves and new releases emerge, EarthRanger users can look forward to even more innovative functionalities emerging. These new features will go beyond collecting data in the field to looking for ways to send information back out to increase situational awareness. This will include real-time locations of nearby tracked collared elephants or friendly ranger teams, as well as receiving information about the events reported by other personnel. The app will also assist with patrol operations, providing instructions and directions towards next objectives as well as two-way communications between teams and with management. These and other functionalities are what our team is working on to support our conservation partners worldwide. With more threats facing wildlife and their habitats than ever, the new EarthRanger mobile app is a powerful tool to manage protected areas, meeting conservationists wherever they are.

Download the app in Google Play Apps or the App Store to see how the new EarthRanger mobile app can transform your work. Questions on the app? Visit our support page.

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