About this site

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iSpot: your place to share nature (iSpotnature.org) is a citizen science platform for biodiversity run by The Open University (OU). iSpot was developed to help anyone learn about and engage with nature, building their wildlife identification skills, while sharing, recording and identifying species. Supported by a diverse and growing online community of tens of thousands of nature enthusiasts, both experts and novices, who have contributed over 1.6 million photos posted with hundreds of thousands of observations of species from a wide range of groups:

  • Birds
  • Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Fungi and Lichens
  • Invertebrates
  • Mammals
  • Plants
  • Other organisms

iSpot is free and easy to use: share your interest with a friendly community, look at the latest spots, take photos of wildlife, add your own observations, join in discussions and get help identifying what you have seen:

  • Explore: browse the thousands of species spotted so far
  • Identify & Record: add your observation; identify them, get help with identifications or assist others
  • Contribute: help identify observations, comment and join in discussions; a reputation system motivates and rewards, awarding badges for contributions
  • Personalise and Learn: participate in citizen science challenges; create, develop and filter your own learning journey through projects, quizzes, online ID keys and courses

iSpot was launched in 2009, marking its 12th anniversary in June 2021, and was originally developed with funding from the Big Lottery Fund (2008 – 2012) as part of the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL).

iSpot is currently involved in citizen science, engagement, research, teaching and learning initiatives funded by a range of sources and is part of work leading innovation in citizen science and artificial intelligence, these include:

  • Co-designing services for biodiversity and environmental citizen observations through Cos4Cloud a European collaboration: www.cos4cloud-eosc.eu.
  • Exploring human computer collaborations in citizen science. ;X:Pollination is a project cross pollinating ideas, methods and technologies:
  • Enhancing biodiversity information enabling volunteers to record nature where it matters through DECIDE – Delivering Enhanced Biodiversity Information with Adaptive Citizen Science and Intelligent Digital Engagements: www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/decide.

iSpot has also received funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the British Ecological Society and is part of The OpenScience Laboratory, an initiative of The Open University and The Wolfson Foundation. Some of our public engagement and outreach work (iSpot Biodiversity Mentors) was also funded by the Ernest Cook Trust.

iSpot and The OpenScience Laboratory

iSpot is associated with the OU’s OpenScience Laboratory (www.opensciencelab.ac.uk), an online centre at the cutting edge of practical science. In addition to a range of citizen science activities (i.e. www.ispotnature.org and www.treezilla.org) on the OpenScience Lab  you can get involved in:

  • Remote Experiments
  • Virtual instruments and interactive screen experiments
  • Online field investigations
  • 3D Immersive environments
  • Citizen Science activities 
18 Nov 2008