How do you harness the power of communities to inspire them to become ‘citizen-scientists’ and engage them so that they share their findings online?

At Ionata Digital we created a unique interactive and informative online platform that started as a Tasmanian trial and has since become a national success story.

How we did it.
Redmap is an online resource that allows anyone with an interest in fish and fishing to report ‘unusual’ sightings. If a fish is believed to be out of its natural area, anyone can simply take a photo on their phone, go to and log their sighting. The marine scientific community can then review these postings and verify the reports, collecting valuable data along the way.

Our aim was to create an interface that was engaging and as easy as possible to use. (After all, no-one ‘has’ to log a fish seen out of its neighbourhood!) We wanted to inspire people to become their own ‘citizen-scientists’. But the strategy behind the website required us to bring together a myriad of different requirements including mapping, posting, blogging and sharing.

The Redmap website has grown to become a fantastic forum where people can find out what fish have been logged near them, see photos of the fish, and maybe even get a scientist to report on a sighting they’ve made.

As a collective tool for evaluating a very real environmental issue, Redmap is a unique collaboration of different communities, all working together for a common good. And our implementation of Redmap was on a trial basis around Tasmanian waters only, but it’s proven to be so successful that Redmap has now gone national. With mobile apps on the way, the role for interested citizen-scientists is set to become even more prolific.

At Ionata we believe that a good web application should be as engaging and as user-friendly as possible. It should be a pleasure to use, not a challenge. Good design should inspire.

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