Conservation Technology at Cal Academy: Drones, OpenROV, and Protecting Forests

Photo: Albino Alligator at Cal Academy

Late last month, a number of innovators and field practitioners got together at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences for a series of meetings on conservation technology. The meetings were significant; an indicator of the growing momentum around the use of new innovative technologies for environmental protection, conservation science, and natural resource management. The field of conservation technology has undergone a massive surge in capability and opportunity as a result of smartphones, open hardware, and the internet. Conservation no longer needs to rely on the military or limited technology vendors to create expensive solutions to our biggest problems. We can now harness open innovation to change the face of conservation. I covered this movement during my 2013 Explorers Symposium presentation and in posts about our Into The Okavango project (seen on Medium and the Okavango blog). Meetings such as this one in San Francisco allow us to share successes, discuss failures, and form collaborations that will only lead to conservation being more successful overall. Fortunately there seems to be a growing effort to do this more often, with successful events like the US State Department’s Fishackathon and the Conservation 3.0 discussions at Society of Conservation Biology’s 2015 conference. There is a greater movement happening here, and a number of upcoming initiatives are looking to harness these efforts so that we can be more effective at conservation. I will be sharing them here over the coming months. It is an exciting time to be a technology geek in conservation.

Many of the attendees remained at Cal Academy for both of the events, which was a great opportunity for extended dialogue between those involved in the technology development and those involved in the work out in the field. There aren’t many —> Read More