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The WILDLABS Community Base is the ideal place to get oriented with the all that our community platform offers, hear about news and opportunitys, and to meet new friends and collaborators. 

discussion

Seeking Host Organisations for Travel Scholarship Application

Hi all,I'm Eva, a final year undergraduate studying Joint Honours Biology and Geography at the University of St Andrews.  I've recently joined the WildLabs community in...

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Hi Eva, 

Me and my colleagues run a small NGO based on Yogyakarta in Indonesia, although our projects are spread around the country. One of our active project is working with the movement ecology of Sunda gharials in Berbak-Sembilang National Park. One of the other is for Malayan Giant Turtle conservation using one-plan approach, which we are planning to start in situ phase. We can't give you promise about anything, but are able to be the host organization and would love to talk the opportunity!

Cheers,

Dhanu

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discussion

WILDLABS Platform Updates

Hi everyone, I'm Filip, director at Octophin Digital, a little digital agency building things for the wildlife conservation sector. The WILDLABS team have been working with us to...

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Hi everyone!

Happy 2023 and a slightly unusual bug fix to mark the first WILDLABS Platform update post of the year.

Our emoji / reaction system broke due to the library it relies on, Twitter's Twemoji, going down (for reasons discussed in the tweet link below). We have had to fall back to native browser emoji while a replacement / mirror of these is slotted in. This may mean emoji display slightly differently for you in the picker, more resembling your current device / browser.

Thank you to @Alasdair for sending me the below tweet which helped work out what was wrong:

Hi everyone! 

It's been a very busy year of development on the WILDLABS Platform but one with not many of these updates from me. This is mostly due to much of it being behind-the-scenes work that's hard to write about (I'll try below!), or huge, exciting projects and features that are launching in 2024. But I felt an update on some of the major changes we have implemented this year was due so here that is.

Before we go on to the main Platform, it's no longer a secret that we've been working with the WILDLABS Team on building The Inventory: a collaborative conservation technology wiki you'll soon see a lot of if you haven't already joined as a beta tester.

I thought, pretty sensibly given its scope, that the WILDLABS Platform itself was the most feature-full web project you could build, and then The Inventory came along and it's taken things to a whole other level. I'm so proud of what we've built for it and I'm so excited to see it launch and grow; with the entire sector benefiting from a place to find and collaborate on the tools needed to protect the world's life.

I'm looking forward to writing more about The Inventory next year, but there's a great overview of it and how you can get involved by the WILDLABS Team over at https://wildlabs.net/discussion/introducing-inventory-rise-conservation-tech-wiki

We've also got another major WILDLABS Platform feature launching very soon that will have a big impact on the community and its members' contributions. And it's fun. But more of that another time... 🦡

Onto those core platform updates:

Performance

With thousands of database queries, media and more pulled into every part of the site, tuning performance on the WILDLABS Platform has been one of the hardest challenges. I was going to run through an example of just how much information there is aggregated on a page (group statistics, user info, bookmarks, reactions, comments...) but it's a lot and I gave up. So I'll instead just mention some of the things we've done to speed things up over the year.

  • Images have been compressed and automatically resized to a far better level than before throughout the system to reduce loading times
  • We've cut down the amount of pings back and forth to the server to check for notifications and other live updates (an amusing major change was only checking for these things if the browser tab was active which meant those 100 WILDLABS tab users among you are no longer tiring out the CPU!)
  • We've moved our caching system (not making a database query twice if the data hasn't changed basically) to the Redis in memory database system (this had a big impact)
  • We've put even more things into that cache so they aren't re-loaded unnecessarily
  • We've moved our servers (this week, hence the scheduled maintenance) to some new infrastructure which allowed us to speed things up even further by allocating more memory.

If there's anything in particular that seems slow for you (especially if it's regularly slow), please let the WILDLABS Team know so we can know where to focus on making the next set of performance improvements.

Notifications

Email notifications were something that took a good three total rewrites and a lot of thought to get right. They have been one of the hardest things to work out the best approach and technical structure for but we've got there I hope, and I hope you've liked receiving them (or opted out if you don't want them).

The new activity email notification system works by a user profile setting (you can edit this yourself) of after how many days of inactivity (not visiting the Platform at all) you would like to be notified of what happened while you were away. This comes in the form of:

  • Direct messages you've received
  • Mentions
  • Comments / replies on posts you've made
  • Reactions to your content

If none of this happens you don't get an email, you only get an email about the same updates once, and if you visit the Platform yourself you clear any emails from sending. This cuts down the notifications feeling spammy and just lets you know about the direct interactions other members had with your profile since you were last here.

On-Platform notifications (the little bell) remain separate and unchanged.

Other improvements

Here are some of the other bits that we've done across the site since I last posted an update:
 

  • Dozens of design and visual usability tweaks, especially on mobile, to make things more usable and readable. A big shout out to front end developer @valeria  who moved on from Octophin this month for all her work on the Platform over the last few years.
  • Embeds of external links should be faster and clearer now as we've built our own system off the back of the iframely embed service and cached them the first time they're loaded.
  • We've tidied up some of the information collected on events and careers and made certain things required so that it's clearer what something is about and who it is for.
  • Introductions / summaries are now compulsory on all content.
  • The little hover popups on people's names are in more places across the site (not just mentions) and have more useful, clearer information in them.
  • There are some new sort options in the members directory, including sorting a search by members' contributions to the community (also look out for some more tools to count your Platform contributions coming soon).
  • We've rebuilt the list of a member's activity that shows up on their / your user profile into a paginated list that shows everything rather than only a handful of recent entries.
  • We've rebuilt the sorting and filtering for the "global feed" and "my feed" to more accurately show what is going on on the site and in your groups. The "my feed" list especially should make much more sense now.

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From me and the rest of the Octophin team, I hope you've had a wonderful 2023 on and off the WILDLABS Platform. As challenging as it often is, seeing the activity and collaborations on here every day makes it one of the most rewarding projects to work on.

Looking forward to a whole new set of improvements and features in 2024!

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discussion

Master Project Collaboration/Ideas!

Hi everyone! My name is Zach Ng, and I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Conservation and International Wildlife Trade - MSc at the University of Kent with the...

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Hi Zach,

Our organization (SEE Turtles) has a campaign working on the illegal tortoiseshell trade around the world called Too Rare To Wear. We are going to be updating our Global Tortoiseshell Report next year and one of the gaps we have in data is in China, where the illegal trade is now happening most frequently on platforms like WeChat.

We'd be interested in discussing with you if interested in how we might be able to gather some data on this trade in the country. I'm including a couple of links below about the program and the last report and will reach out by email.

-Brad 

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article

InConversation: Season 1*New Episode*

Tap into our new and exciting community-focused conversation series!  In this first season of InConversation, we're in East Africa with host Esther Githinji. Listen in as we chat one-on-one with your favourite...

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article

WILDLABS Awards 2024: Further Information

More information for those interested in our newly launched WILDLABS Awards, supporting 14 outstanding conservation technology projects with $60,000, $30,000, and $10,000 grants. Read carefully ahead of submitting your...

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discussion

Wishlist for kit in a field-based Research Station or tech testing space?

Hi wildlabbers!A colleague is looking to crowdsource some advice: what would be on your wishlist for kitting out a field based space for research and tech development?...

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Regine Weckauf over on linkedin

'Little to do with research and tech development, but given how hard it is to attract and retain experienced staff to field based positions, I know it makes a difference how nice the space is. Just because it's the "field", shouldn't mean staff living in basic conditions, regardless of how many times we've been told to see it as a badge of honor. If you have the money, put in nice bathrooms, kitchen, living spaces, and private accommodation. Maybe even a nursery? It creates more local employment opportunities and people genuinely want to visit.'

 

Love the idea for in-house gear/supplies! It can be SOO difficult to travel with batteries, electronics parts with airline regs, country policies, etc. and shipping recorders/trail cams/etc. gets VERY (prohibitively) pricey in some countries with customs and taxes. Would be great to have an in-country place to source that kind of equipment. 

Housing educational resources related to that tech (in the form of people, print materials, computer tutorials) in-house would be similarly awesome. Particularly/especially in local languages.   

Having in-country wet labs as well helps the eDNA/genetics folks, since sample import/export permitting can be (always seems to be?!) a nightmare, so if you can even just do PCR and/or extractions in-country that helps a ton. 

In terms of overall field-station-wishlist - honestly, just the promise of continued funding and staff. Every field station I've been to or worked at is in a constant search for enough money to get through the next month/year, because the funding comes in the establish a station but then not to maintain it long-term. It's not sexy for a wishlist per se, but boy is it over-looked and much-needed. 

@hikinghack from Dinalab would probably have lots of good insights on this! 

My suggestion would probably be a 3D printer and Solder Station with a stock of common components. With those two things you can solve most problems.

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event

A SPOTLIGHT ON CUTTING-EDGE BIOMONITORING TECHNOLOGIES

Join us in our session to feature the latest developments and applications in groundbreaking biomonitoring tech in the tropics

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Hello!The Galápagos Islands can be considered Tropics? We do drone monitoring of the marine iguanas with the project Iguanas from Above :)Thanks.Andrea Varela
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article

Help Panama Fight Ecocide

There is an illegal mining contract (it's literally against the constitution of Panama!) Being forced upon the people and nature of panama by the Canadian mining company First Quantum and a handful of corrupt...

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