The EarthRanger User Conference (ERUC) kicked off in Johannesburg, on 06 November 2021. The conference was well attended with representatives from all over the globe, but mostly working in and around the African continent. Over the years, since its inception, the ERUC has grown considerably in numbers and diversified in the topics covered. During the course of the three days, many interesting topics were presented on how EarthRanger has positively impacted the landscape of wildlife conservation. The overall theme emerging from the presentations is that; the use of EarthRanger in wildlife conservation has significantly improved ecological management, species monitoring, security and risk management, and data collection. More than anything, EarthRanger has enabled people to better understand the animals and environment they are working to conserve and manage.
There are some very interesting new updates that can be expected from EarthRanger in the near future, most of which have been requested by users. Undoubtedly, these changes will further enrich the EarthRanger user experience. Featured below is a list of what is new and what can be expected in 2022:
- EarthRanger Mobile App
- Updates on the Administration user page
- More streamlined EarthRanger to EarthRanger sharing
- EarthRanger Community Forum platform
- More EarthRanger sites
- Two-way devise communication from other manufactures (currently only available on the Garmin In-reach device)
- More new integrations with different types of sensors (weather stations & acoustic sensors)
- SMART & EarthRanger data sharing through SMART Integrate
There are always minor changes to the application continuously taking place to better enhance the user experience, but these are the major changes and updates.
As an implementing partner to the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), Nandi Thobela of the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) gave a presentation on the scope of training material developed so far. The ERUC has proven to be a great platform to launch the training materials and the message was positively received by the audience. During and after the ERUC there have been many interactions with sites (mentioned in the table below) about the training material, training needs, and potentially EarthRanger training, which will be facilitated by the Southern African Wildlife College.
Tswalu Game Reserve
Space for Giants
Mount Kenya Trust
Amakhala Game Reserve
Save the Elephants
Game Rangers International
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Mozambique Sustainable Foundation
Last but not least, perhaps the biggest news to come out of the ERUC 2021 was the fact that the Source Code for EarthRanger is now available to all public for free. It would be remiss of me not to profusely thank the EarthRanger Team from AI2 for their continued partnership with the SAWC and other EarthRanger implementing agencies, and furthermore for hosting such a unique event that supports the EarthRanger User.