Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birdpost.com?



Birdpost.com? Yet another list to feed! So, what's it got that eBird hasn’t?

From the Crunchbase.com entry on the website:

Birdpost is poised to lead a burgeoning "citizen science" movement as a usable, innovative, and potent framework aimed at connecting nature and people in ways never before possible. Birdpost combines satellite mapping technology with the popular sport of birdwatching, dramatically modernizing, improving, and altering the hobby by solving birders’ most vexing problem: where to find new bird species. Birdpost gives the estimated 18 million serious U.S. birders an online platform to chronicle, organize, map, and share their collective birding activities.

The cumulative data gathered by Birdpost’s users will produce "natural histories" of local habitats and give conservationists, educators, and other nature enthusiasts the tools they need to better protect, understand, and the enjoy the environment. Ultimately, Birdpost’s proprietary vehicle for grass-roots nature reporting will scale beyond birds to include other nature verticals such as wildlife, insects, reptiles, plants, fish, and trees, becoming a human-generated nature search engine.

Who is going to confirm rare-bird or record early/late sightings at this website? Is the intent really for citizen science, like eBird? As more people use it, will useful sightings data be diverted away from eBird? Will any on-line reporting tool ever replace the simplicity and usefulness of the listservs? The "Friend Connector" on Birdpost.com makes it seem like a brand of FaceBook - social networking for birders. I appreciate that eBird is sponsored by Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Science Foundation and see no such sponsorship or affiliation for Birdpost.com. Naturally, I think anything that gets people interested in birds, birding, and general nature observation can have positive educational merit, but hasn’t this website merely reinvented the wheel relative to eBird? Why would birders want to spend even more time at the keyboard entering sightings into yet another database?

Addendum:

Link: Birdpost - Watch the video

Slick marketing! Presently advertised to be free (sign-up), it's ultimately a for-profit service that will cost $50.00 for an annual subscription - they're going to sell your data. No thanks!

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