We want to make Turtle Sense as simple to use as possible. So, at the most basic level, setting it up, you just plug the connector coming from the turtle egg Smart Sensor into the connector attached to the communications tower. The device, which has been asleep, wakes up and starts collecting data and sending out reports. When you unplug the devices, they go back to sleep until the next time.
But that is just the surface of how we plan to have users interact with the device. We made these units for use by the National Park Service, but the NPS is just the representative for a much bigger group of users: wildlife managers, researchers, eco-tourists, fisherman, and the general public.
Wildlife managers need to know where the nests are, when the eggs were laid, when they might hatch, etc. Turtle researchers will want to access the data from the devices and devise theories and models that account for the observations. Eco-tourists might want to know which nest is the most likely to boil and when. Fisherman might want to know if and when a section of the beach will be closed to vehicles because of an impending boil. For all these users, we have started work on a website that will give each group access to the information they want or need here.
Right now, the web site only provides a small amount of information. A map showing the active nests is provided, and the nest sites shown on the map are real, but the graphs that pop up are just designed to show that we can provide more information about each nest. That information that will be ultimately provided will be different for the three groups of users on whom we are focusing: wildlife managers, researchers, and the general public. For example, a graph won't mean anything to most people, but it might be very important to a wildlife manager.
Each group will also have pages that are designed to meet a specific need.
- Wildlife managers will have a place to enter information about each nest and record events that are significant, like surf over-wash, predation observations, etc.
- Researchers will have a portal to our mySQL database to make queries of the raw data. We will make the data open source as well.
- The general public will have a page with the prediction for the next boiling nest and information about how to go about watching for a boil. A map might show which areas of the beach are inaccessible due to impending boils and when those beach areas might open back up.
Another section of the website will allow all three groups to sign up for e-mail alerts about when a nest may be hatching. We're also considering offering text alerts, but because of the expense involved, this might not be possible without a fee of some kind.