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Botany on the Web

January 8, 2015

Here at Jazkarta we really enjoy innovative uses of web technology, especially in the service of non-profit and educational projects. Go Botany! and Go Orchids! were two such projects – they harnessed Javascript, Python, Django, and Solr to create user friendly plant identification tools. Go Botany! was created by the New England Wild Flower Society with funding from the National Science Foundation, and it was awarded the 2013 NEEEA Maria Pirie Award for Environmental Education Program of the Year. This major award  recognizes outstanding environmental education programs that demonstrate innovation and creativity, have been implemented broadly, and can easily be replicated in other regions.

As proof of that last point, Go Orchids! – created by by the North American Orchid Conservation Center – was able to adopt the Go Botany! code base (which had been released as open source) and create a site focused on orchid identification in a relatively short period of time. Last fall Go Orchids! produced a video introducing the tool to new users:

 

See our earlier Go Botany! blog post for more information about the technology behind these sites. For an in-depth look at the system architecture, watch this Djangocon 2014 presentation by Brandon Rhodes (start at minute 18:54).

We are so pleased to have played a part in both these projects. And we’d love to do more of them! Go Orchids! contributed improvements to the code base that make the application more flexible and easier to adapt. Any organizations interested in having a plant identification website tailored to a particular region or taxon should contact us or the New England Wildflower Society.

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