Exploring nature with iSpot

Identify anything in nature - a guide to help you develop your skills and interest in nature.

Background and nature of the task
www.iSpot.org.uk is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature. On iSpot you can share your interest with a friendly community, take a look at the latest spots, add your own observations, join in discussions and get help identifying what you have seen.

What happens on iSpot? 
You can browse the thousands of observations from other users and once registered you can add your own, suggest an identification yourself or see if anyone else can identify it for you. You can also help others by adding identifications to their observations, which you may like to do as your knowledge grows. Your reputation on the site grows as people agree with your identifications. Visit our forums which offer lively debate about wildlife and related topics. 

Five steps to using iSpot:

  1. Browse observations: look at some of the latest observations. Anyone can see what's on the site without registering, just go to the home page, and click on the photos for the latest observations.
  2. Register: to join in the activity you will need to register (it's free!). Click on the 'Sign up to iSpot' button, provide a user name, email address, and password. Now go outside and make some observations, taking a digital camera with you, if you can. 
  3. Add an observation: adding your own observations to iSpot allows you to get more out of the website and participate fully. It's easy to upload a photo or a description of the wildlife you have seen. Click 'Add an observation', select and attach the photo then fill in the details. 
  4. Add an identification: if you know the name of what you have seen, you can say so! Add an English or scientific name, click on the 'Get recommended' button, and match the name. If you don't know the name, that's fine, leave it blank and others will help you identify it. 
  5. Provide a location: click on 'Use map' to select your location from the map, if your camera has not filled this information in automatically. If you do not want to reveal the precise location of the  observation, there is an option to do this. Now you are registered and have added an observation on iSpot you can also assist others by adding identifications to their observations or agree with their identifications.

Explore even more!
Ecological interactions. You may see a bird feeding on a particular fruit, a butterfly visiting a flower, or a lichen growing on a tree - on iSpot you can get help understanding the connections between what you have seen, and record the link. All organisms are part of a web of  connections with other species. iSpot will show you which insects eat the plants you have seen (and vice-versa). You can also record your own observations of ecological  interactions. Follow the instructions provided: www.ispot.org.uk/help-interactions. Use iSpot's identification keys - iSpot has some additional features to assist  with identification. Go to www.ispot.org.uk and select 'Keys' from the top of the page. Full instructions on using the interactive keys are provided. You can find Keys to help you identify earthworms, minibeasts, ladybirds, dragonflies and damselflies, water beetles, woodlice, lichens and other species. If you are interested in creating your own key do let us know.

Help with what to ‘spot’!
For help and advice on what to spot, where to see it, and how to identify it, click on ‘Groups’ and select the wildlife groups you are interested in.

You can also go to the ‘In Your Area’ section to find out what’s happening and meet the iSpot Biodiversity Mentor for your region.

The document below provides further guidance.

Duration and pattern of use
This activity should take approximately 1-3 hours to complete.

iSpot's new look launched!!!

iSpot has a new look with a fresh design and exciting additional features. The main changes are:

- 'My Spot' becomes 'Your iSpot' with new features to filter observations

- You can create a 'Project' gathering observations from a location, species group or time period on one page

- You can experience iSpot through four core themes: Explore, Identify, Contribute and Personalise

- The website is now responsive and will re-size to fit the device you are using

We welcome your feedback, views and comments via the iSpot Feedback Forum:http://www.ispotnature.org/forum/25220  .


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