A Pilot Project for Citizen Science Megafauna Sightings
Some of the most iconic species of megafuana frequent Mozambican waters. Ask many scuba divers what they would most like to see in the water and you will often hear whale shark, manta ray, humpback whale, and many of the other species often spotted on the Mozambique coast. But how often are they spotted?
Two dive centers in Tofo, Mozambique have been collecting sightings data on megafauna species for the past several years in collaboration with the Marine Megafuana Foundation. To help understand the dataset, my friend Zouhair Mahboubi wanted to build an interactive visualization using plotly.js and asked me to design the project.
Interacting with data is a helpful way to understand it and interactive graphs are one of plotly’s strengths. After exploring several design options we settled on three cross graphs that each provide a unique view into the data: location, frequency, and time. Each graph acts as a selection filter for the other two. This allows the user to focus on the sections of the dataset they are most interested in, and hopefully tease insights out from the numbers.
Growing a Global Database
This pilot visualization is using data from a single region and if it proves successful we will expand to other regions. Collecting sightings data on these species can enable researches to better understand trends that affect these animals, many of which are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Through understanding these animals we can better protect them.
This project shares insights from the data set with the dive centers that are collecting the data. The centers can share this insight with their clients and use it to market their business.