discussion / AI for Conservation  / 26 November 2019

X-Prize for Rainforests


X-Prize have announced a $10m prize "to survey the most biodiversity in at least three stories of a rainforest (emergent, canopy, understory, and forest floor) in 8 hours and use that data to produce the greatest number of new insights after 48 hours that will reveal the true potential of the standing forest."

Anyone else interested in this?

Hi Ben, 

Thanks for getting this started here. There's definitely some interest based on some conversations we were having on Twitter last week. We're planning on having a community call early next year to discuss potentially getting together a team to put in a collaborative application from the WILDLABS community. It'll be along the lines of one of our meetups with anyone welcome to attend if interested in getting involved . 

To capture that background conversation for the record:  

I have many questions. Intrigued, curious and searching for more information. The $10M Rainforest XPRIZE https://t.co/ONAL9jqSdU @HikingHack @Steph_ODonnell @WILDLABSNET @wildspyrob @shahselbe

— Alasdair Davies (@Al2kA) November 19, 2019

Ahhh, exsqueeze me? Whoa!!! Do you think we could all make a collective WILDLABS community application? I am having ideas (one is that I sit in the forest for 48hrs counting stuff, whilst slowly being raised by a large helium balloon. I know right? And that's just my first idea!)

— Rob Appleby (@wildspyrob) November 20, 2019

But seriously. Yes. Maybe we should have a community call to see if there is some interest.. pic.twitter.com/EH9w2QbXlB

— Stephanie O'Donnell (@Steph_ODonnell) November 20, 2019

You mean, 500 people all in the balloon basket with 500 notepads and pens? It can't lose

— Alasdair Davies (@Al2kA) November 20, 2019

I think this is a great idea. Paul Bunje, my cofounder and former chief scientist points out, it usually takes the amount of the prize purse to win a competition, so working collaboratively gives out more resources!

— Alex Dehgan (@lemurwrangler) November 20, 2019

Absolutely Steph! Surely I can ride the coattails of all the smartie pants's in the WILDLABS community?! Let's definitely set up a chat!

— Rob Appleby (@wildspyrob) November 20, 2019

Alrighty. Let’s find a time that works for us all (and others), then can open the invite up to the community. We just need a team organised for June 2020, so maybe we aim for a call in January? Uh.. Suggest that folks reply or like my tweet if you want to be included from the go

— Stephanie O'Donnell (@Steph_ODonnell) November 20, 2019

We could maybe have a Virtual Meetup style chat?

— Alasdair Davies (@Al2kA) November 20, 2019

@TomMQuigley ha, I had assumed you were going to want to be included. I'll loop in anyone who is already a part of the thread.

— Stephanie O'Donnell (@Steph_ODonnell) November 20, 2019

I have been silent in the background so far in the calls, but maybe I can be useful here: I am good at putting such documents together - funding applications. If you need a couple of extra hands :)

— simone ferlin (@si_ferlin) November 20, 2019

Speaking to you has literally been on my to do list for months! I was thinking about you this morning. Yes, it would be great to have you involved 

— Stephanie O'Donnell (@Steph_ODonnell) November 20, 2019

I have not been active. mainly due to not finding the right moment/task to jump in. But here it is a chance - please, CC: me to the emails.

— simone ferlin (@si_ferlin) November 20, 2019


So, call early next year? I'll keep this thread updated as we progress with that - but if anyone is interested I suggest you drop a comment in below so I can make sure you're in on the planning emails. I'm assuming you're interested Ben? 



Tagging people involved in the twitter convo: @Rob+Appleby @Simone+Ferlin @tomquigley @Steffen @lemurwrangler @shahselbe @hikinghack 



Yes, please count me in also! Speaking of counting, I am picturing all sorts of cool tech like automated light 'traps' (without the actual need for trapping) and pitfall 'traps' with machine vision to classify and count insects (e.g. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01441203/document) and automated drone transects, oh oh and trying to monitor every living thing/major process in a set of quadrats. I imagine significant steps have already occurred in some or all of these sorts of idea already? Perhaps there are some rainforest monitoring and community ecology experts that can guide us on just how ambitious we can be/how idiotic I am?

And Ben, please don't rule out sitting in an air balloon doing analysis, even if it's in your office. There's simply no reason only the field team should get to be in balloons (selfish!).