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Over the past months we have been undergoing in-depth technical work behind the scenes of iSpot updating the technology this will help to ensure that the service we provide has a sustainable future. With the first phase of this work almost done we will be introducing changes to the site in the coming weeks and months. We will be providing regular updates, revised Help Sections and FAQs to inform and guide you through this process so do look out for this; but we need your help too. The most important thing we need you to do now is to check and make sure that the email address you have linked with your account / profile is up-to-date.
Please check and update your email address as an up to date address is essential for changes that are happening on the iSpot system. There will be further news items on changes to iSpot over the coming weeks so keep an eye on the home page. Many people have been on the iSpot system for a number of years and their email has changed, it is important to check your profile and edit the email address section to check the email address is correct.
Due to essential network maintenance, iSpot will be unavailable between 22:00 (GMT/UTC) Saturday 8th April and 10:00 (GMT/UTC) Monday 10th April, 2017. We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please note that because of the recent impact of spam on the site, as a precautionary measure, we have temporarily disabled new accounts. Therefore if you try to register and have difficulties doing so, please try again later.
As you may have noticed, iSpot was unavailable on and off periodically from Thursday evening, March 16th to Saturday March 18th 2017. We have been dealing with an influx of spam on the site and have had to take the site offline as needed as a precautionary measure to manage this. We are monitoring the situation so please do bear with us as we work to resolve it. We apologise for any inconvenience this may be cause.
What is an ecosystem? What is co-evolution? How do species interact with their habitat? How do we preserve ecosystems? These are some of the questions posed and answered in The Open University's MOOC (Massive Open Online Course): Introduction to Ecosystems. This free course runs for six weeks. If you are interested, read on to find out more.
While out exploring nature and posting your observations on iSpot this weekend don't forget about the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch from January 28 - 30, 2017. You can still register and download a pack crammed full of information to help you make the most of your birdwatching. Good luck with your sightings! Curious about what birds have been uncovered and posted on iSpot recently? Read on for more...
It’s not too late to save UK nature but we must act now - that is the conclusion from a coalition of more than 50 leading wildlife and research organisations, including iSpotnature.org, who are behind the State of Nature 2016 report.
We had to do some necessary site maintenance this morning so you may have noticed that iSpotnature.org was off-line for an hour or so.
This was part of the regular maintenance which is important to keep the site running.
Thanks again for your patience.
The iSpot Team
As you may have noticed, iSpot was unavailable or not accepting images for part of 3 and 4 March. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
A software patch was applied to the website, but unfortunately there was a problem with the process which resulted in the site not working properly. This issue has now been fixed and the site should be working normally.
Thanks for your continued support! The iSpot Team.
The year 2015 looks like it will go down as the warmest on record and there are predictions that 2016 will be even warmer due to the effects of El Niño and climate change. It’s already the beginning of February, have you noticed any effects on our wildlife?
The iSpot Team has been busy developing our plans for 2016, while at the same time reviewing and reflecting on iSpot activity last year. What were your favourite observations of 2015?
As you may have noticed, iSpot was unavailable from Friday evening, January 15th to this morning, Monday, January 18. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
We dealt with an influx of spam on the site on Friday and decided to take the site offline as a precautionary measure as there appeared to be a threat of a large scale spam attack over the weekend. The team has carried out some work to reduce the risk of a similar attack in the future.
After over seven years working as the iSpot Curator Martin Harvey is leaving.
Martin has been a core member of the iSpot team, playing a key role in developing and managing the unique reputation system, overseeing our busy online community as well as being the main contact with the many UK experts, schemes and societies represented on the site. We thank Martin for all his hard work over the years and wish him well for the future.
Would you like to be part of the iSpot Team, helping to develop and support our fantastic community of wildlife enthusiasts?
With most results now in for Butterfly Conservation's annual Big Butterfly Count, over 50,000 were completed, from all round the UK.
A new initiative from the Field Studies Council aims to bring together a complete list of wildlife identification resources in one place, and you can help keep it up to date.
Most of the results are now in for the third National Garden Bioblitz, which asked people to find as many species as they could in their gardens over the weekend of 30-31 May. If you haven't yet sent in results there's still time, and iSpot can help with any unidentified photos you may have.
iSpot will be at Big Nature Day on Saturday! Come to the Natural History Museum in London and take part in an exciting range of activities.
On 13 May iSpot passed the half-million mark! This represents an amazing collaboration by people all round the world to find and help identify wildlife. Congratulations to iSpotter "Mavourneen" for the 500,000th observation!
"The Biology of Survival" is a new course from The Open University that focuses on a range of plant and animal species to illustrate elements of biology from an evolutionary perspective. Students are currently carrying out fieldwork to investigate pollination.
It’s all quiet on the western front this week, so only a few things to report as some of the team are on leave and some on other projects:
What has been completed this week
- Investigate and fix issue with API not returning full query result set (complete and live).
- Security update to Drupal core (complete and live).
- Security update to ctools 3rd party module (complete and live).
- Improve add observation wizard performance (complete and ready for testing)
Once again, thank you for your patience as we work through the bug list. Also, apologies for the issue with the updates last week whereby we broke the add observation wizard – everything was fine in testing, however the update didn’t work as expected on the live server.
What has been completed this week
We have completed a number of tasks this week, though not as much on the bug fixing as we would have liked. We are currently testing things with a target of making these fixes live next Tuesday. Some of the fixes are particularly around performance - this doesn't fix all performance as there are still issues with contention and some slow queries.
What has been completed this week
Apologies for a slightly delayed update this week, as we had some issues with the site on Friday. Some of the team were away at a conference during the week, and we also had a team building activity which means not a huge amount report this week.
What has been completed this week
Surprise! We're early with our update this week!
We have made a number of bug fixes live on the iSpot website this week. Here’s a roundup of what’s changed…
Bug fixing progress
The work to migrate the iSpot database to MySQL 5.7 is still ongoing. This week we discovered an issue that is causing problems with projects. Essentially, where lines on a project polygon touch, or cross, the database is returning incorrect query results. We have been working on a fix to prevent “bad” polygons being submitted. We have identified around 20 projects that are currently affected by this – we’ll aim to either fix these or contact the project owner to advise that they need to amend their polygon(s).
Bug fixing progress
The team last week updated the website whereby user sessions that have been inactive for 2 hours are automatically logged out. We made an error in implementing this change without informing or warning users before implementing this update – this was a mistake on our part and we apologise for that. To clarify the reasons for the change:
We regret to inform you that the iSpot app has now been withdrawn, with apologies to those who were previously making use of it. The app was no longer working adequately and regretfully we do not have the resources to continue its development at the moment. The app (which was for Android devices) will no longer be available via Google Play.
The good news is that the iSpot website now works more effectively on browsers for mobile devices, and should allow touchscreen control on phones and tablets.
A new paper describing iSpot's crowd-sourcing approach to species identification has been published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.
Since our last update there have been upgrades to some of the software that iSpot uses (PHP and Drupal), leading to small but significant improvements in site performance (that is, how long it takes for certain queries to be run and pages to be displayed). Further upgrades to other parts of the software portfolio have been tested on the development website, and will be implemented on iSpot itself once all tests have been passed.
As regular users of iSpot will be aware, we have had a few technical problems following the merge of the main iSpot site with our southern Africa partner site. Our development team have been tracking the performance of the site, and reviewing feedback for site users, to assess what the most important issues are and plan how to deal with them. We'll try and keep you up to date with progress.
Don't forget to take part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend! All you need is an hour to relax, watch the birds in your garden and jot down the largest number of species you can see at any one time. Full details and lots of background info at:
And if you need help with identifying what you see try and get a clear photo so that other iSpotters can assist. For more about birds on iSpot see:
The Floodplain Meadows Partnership is based here at The Open University. They are running workshops and planning for this year's surveys of fritillary flowers and of bumblebees - read on to find out how you can take part.
How many species have been observed on Christmas Day? Which species has been seen most often on New Year's Day? Read on to find out, and we hope that wherever you are over the next couple of weeks you can find some time to enjoy watching wildlife.
iSpot has been running very successfully in southern Africa for the past three years, led by the South African National Biodiversity Institute. As regular iSpotters will know, we have been working to merge the southern Africa site with the main iSpot site, and we're delighted that this has now been achieved.
Fancy a mission? Join the Weather-it community! "Weather-it" is for anyone with an interest in weather. You can take part by using your mobile phone's inbuilt sensors, your cloud-spotting skills and more.
A fungus observation added to iSpot has been identified as a species only found once before in the UK! Read on to find out how Dave Ellacott was helped by iSpot to track down the Orange Pore fungus.