As a former employee at Microsoft Research, Jessica Herron 11 FAV feels passionately about the power of data. So when she visited Karanambu Lodge in Guyana – where scientists are tracking jaguar and caiman populations – the RISD alum was flabbergasted to see that researchers are still using handheld GPS units and notebooks to record their hard-earned field information.
“Here were dedicated people trying to track our planet’s biodiversity and there were no well-designed, functionally rich tools to make it quick and easy to input, upload, display and share their data,” says Herron.
To help members of environmental organizations record and share their data more easily, Herron is in the process of launching Glance, a flexible app that allows users to track wildlife sightings. Alexander Hills, a Brown graduate who has also been working for Microsoft, is helping to build a prototype. The idea got a boost when it was recently featured on a popular tech blog published to Boston.com.
The team launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the ambitious endeavor. If all goes according to plan, Herron hopes to make Glance available for public use on the iPhone by December. “The designs are taking their final form,” she says. “We’re gearing up to do some serious development over the coming months.”