Friday, March 18, 2011

Guide to the Lichens of The Evergreen State College

Last summer I spent a month or so playing around with Android app development and came up with an app to help identify common fungi in the northwest.  I basically mapped out a key (Kit Scates) onto an interface of tabs and buttons that users could select from.  It was really basic and had no database support.  Everything was hard coded, meaning no scalability.  Despite this, it worked, and I actually used it quite a few times.  I never released it onto the android market.

About a month ago I started thinking about how I could integrate an app into my current studies at Evergreen.  Spring quarter is going to be based around surveying lichens around EEON (Evergreen Ecological Observation Network) and I realized it would be a great opportunity to catalog what we find.  I knew this time around I need to integrate a database into the design.    

After about a week of shuffling through code and reading about databases, I have a functioning app ready to be expanded over spring quarter, and hopefully finished this summer.

The app is based around the 'forest-types' found on the Evergreen campus, with about nine different types in all.  The user will be able to select a forest-type and view lichens that are known to occur in that area.


The species info was taken from McCune and Geiser, just to have some data to test the functionality of the app.  The data in the finished app will be based on surveys and identification performed by myself and other students at Evergreen.

I'm still working on integrating photos, which will greatly improve the app's usability.  Users can click on a lichen name and view more detailed information about that species.  Once my lichen taxonomy skills are a little more honed I'll integrate a short key into the main menu so that users can at least narrow the specimen they have by thallus-type (fruticose, crustose, foliose, squamulose).  I would also like to integrate a google maps/GPS component, so that users could view their current location and view a list of lichens based on their location.  That is, however, beyond me at this point. Also, I realize the layout/design is very basic, but it is a work in progress.

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