Naturblick lets you easily identify animals and plants with just your phone camera. It encourages people to learn more about the nature in our neighbourhoods.
Automatic image recognition software classifies and defines flora and fauna, while automatic sound recognition will tell you exactly which bird is singing that lovely song.
When I was first approached by the Naturkundemuseum in Berlin about the complete design of their new app, including branding, logo, style guide and printed matter, I was thrilled. I always wanted to use an app to recognize plants and animals myself, and there is no better way to get under the skin of a project than to be an enthusiastic user.
Initially it was a little disconcerting to discover that a relatively small team of programmers in the state-subsidized museum would be working with me to develop the UX/UI on this hybrid app. Constraints have never held me back though, and we managed to deliver first the Android and then the iOS app within the given timeframe.
To give you a broader idea: the Naturkundemuseum conducts research on digital environmental education for an adult target group, testing approaches to individual nature experiences in big cities and assessing how this affects the perception of nature in the city. This involves the development of acoustic and optical pattern recognition systems that can automatically identify species on the basis of sound recordings and photographs.
Throughout the project I had the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team of specialists in biology, computer science, urban ecology and social sciences.
Since nature can be experienced all around us, I developed the Naturblick style guide with the concept of this perception and experience at the forefront.
Naturblick has become well-known in the city and can be used throughout Germany. Berlin has a rich wildlife which we can now appreciate better than ever. The app sharpens our perception of nature and is geared to young, digitally streetwise users who appreciate a playful approach to the wildlife topic.
It has become one of the digital flagships of the museum and currently counts over 250,000 downloads (06/2020). Many schools also use the app in their classes or on excursions.
To experience nature, you don't need to go trekking in the Pyrenees or hiking in the Black Forest – nature opens up right before your eyes if you know where to look. Peace, regeneration and contemplation can begin not far from your front door.
By learning about your direct environment and nature, you can live with it more respectfully, since those who perceive and thus appreciate nature, no longer want to do without it. Sustainability does not only refer to environmentally compatible consumer behaviour, it is also a commitment to conservation and a change in social values.
Naturblick development depends on the participation and feedback of users. Its technology and content are being constantly improved and expanded. On the Offene Naturführer (Open Nature Guide) wiki, content can be suggested and uploaded. This enriches the content of the app over the course of time.
Naturblick is a Citizen Science project that is constantly improving with the help of artificial intelligence. The more species that are identified, the higher the accuracy of the app. When using Naturblick, we are thus jointly contributing to the creation of a comprehensive and reliable species register.