The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), launched a mobile application to help environmental authorities in wildlife enforcement and protection.
WildAlert App, launched during the World Wildlife Day on March 3, was a pioneering technology under the USAID’s flagship Wildlife Protect Project.
Fheter John Calanday, a Palaweño programmer who was contracted to create the system, said Thursday that the app, which may be used online and offline, will help law enforcement agencies in wildlife management, monitoring, and protection.
“DENR officers from all regions of the Philippines were present on the soft launch to test the system. The idea is that anyone can send a report through the app, which is linked in real-time to the nearest office that is tasked to verify and act on the report,” Calanday said.
However, the beta test was only limited to the DENR rangers and representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), who was set to draw up the protocols upon its public launch.
The app, currently also limited to Android users, was programmed to create and send simple reports that automatically geotags the location of the picture and will be verified and analyzed by the enforcers nearest to the location.
The report will subsequently be sent to the rangers who are expected to act on the report or complaint.
The system was claimed to be user-friendly and was even programmed to construct reports even from laymen who can select features of the species (reptile/bird/mammal etc.) based on its outer covering (scale/feather/coat etc.) and color.
“Kahit offline ka, once you take the picture, makukuha yung geolocation ng picture kung saan mo ‘yon nakuha. For example, nasa bundok ‘yong ranger na nagpa-patrol at walang internet, once maka-connect na sya sa internet, ‘yong uploaded report will still be tagged kung saan ‘yon nakuha,” he explained.
The database can withstand some 400 simultaneous reports from even low-end cellphone devices, as evidenced during their dry-run.
Representatives from DENR and Philippine National Police (PNP) throughout the country were present for its soft launch at the Ninoy Aquino Park Wildlife Center in Quezon City, Manila on March 3.
Calanday, Arvy Mayor, and Marcelo Oblan, local programmers, worked on the WildAlert app in roughly six months prior to its soft launch.
Calanday is also the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of IT-era Technology Solutions, an IT firm founded and based in the province.