Document & Discover the World Around You With Project Noah

Today, we’re going to step away from the world of buttoned-up web apps and take a look at a truly unique app: Project Noah. It’s a cooperative science project that will motivate you to get away from your screen and spend more time in the great outdoors!

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply would like to know what that plant in your yard is, Project Noah is an app that can be both educational and fun. Let’s take a look and see what Project Noah has to offer.

Joining the Wildlife Social Network

Both a project and a series of web and mobile apps, Project Noah aims to help people catalog and identify wildlife all around them. Users can then browse other people’s discoveries, help them identify animals and plants they don’t recognize, and help assist in missions to locate species throughout the world.

While it’s built around cataloging nature from your smartphone, its web app offers all the same features so you don’t have to miss out, even if you don’t have the latest mobile devices. The Project Noah web app is beautifully designed with close attention to every detail that is usually reserved for iOS apps.

Project Noah's Homepage gives you a sample of what it offers

Most of us hate the idea of signing up for yet another social network, but Project Noah is simpler than most networks. You can browse other people’s submissions without creating an account.

Once you’ve decided to use it, it’s not that much trouble to create an account. Just sign in with your existing Google, Twitter, or Facebook account, and your account will automatically be setup. If you’ve already used a Project Noah mobile app, make sure to sign in with the same account you used there so your data will be the same in both locations.

Sign up with your existing social network accounts

From your profile dashboard, you’ll be able to see new animal and plant spottings from others, as well as favorite submissions, ones that need identified, and more. You can also see items you’ve submitted from the left side if you’ve used Project Noah’s mobile apps before.

View recent discoveries from your dashboard

Discover Animals & Plants Around the World

Whether you created an account or not, you can see everything that’s being shared from around the world in Project Noah’s web app. Select the Organisms button on the top to browse through the most popular and recent animal and plant sightings from around the world. You can also search for specific creatures, or select a interesting picture to see more about that animal.

Along the top throughout the app, you’ll see the most recent comments about unknown animals and plants; if you see something you recognize, feel free to chime in to help everyone learn more about the nature around them.

Project Noah includes tons of beautiful photos from around the world

The map view provides one of the neatest ways to discover wildlife around the world. Project Noah uses a Google Map mashup to show which animals are being documented with their apps across the globe. Click the tab that lists the number of spottings to customize the map view to display only certain creatures or those in specific locations.

This is a great way to find wildlife around you that you’ve never noticed, or to discover what’s in a different part of the globe. Each of the icons and map indicators are beautifully designed, and Project Noah may be one of the most stylish Google Maps overlays we’ve seen.

There's discoveries to explore from around the world

Join a Mission

One of the most interesting things about Project Noah is the missions. Missions are projects to collect pictures and info about different varieties of wildlife. From a list of red plants and animals to the best bird shots, there’s something here that anyone can contribute to.

If you find a mission you think would be fun to contribute pictures and info to, just select it and click the Join Mission button on its page. Or, you can also just browse the pictures and more that have already been collected.

Find missions that you can contribute to

Share Your Own Discoveries

Back at your Project Noah dashboard, you can start sharing the animals and plants you discover too. On the left side, you’ll see your own profile info, complete with the number of sightings you’ve made and more. Click the Add new Spotting button to get started adding a new picture of a plant or animal you’ve spotted to Project Noah.

Uploading new discoveries is quick and easy

Project Noah makes it easy and fun to add spottings of plants and animals. You can enter the common name of your spotting in the top box, or check Help me ID this spotting if you’re not sure what the animal or plant is and would like to learn more. Then, select a category, enter a description and more info about your spotting.

Whether you know what you saw or are trying to find out more, add anything you can to make the spotting more complete. Don’t foget to add a photo to the spotting; do note that the photo uploader is flash based, so you’ll have to be running Flash player to upload pictures.

Don't worry if you don't know what you spotted...

Further down you can add tags, notes about habitat, and more to your listing. You’ll also need to add the location where you took the picture as each posting is required to include location info. It’s fairly easy to pinpoint your location with the Google Maps widget; it will even try to automatically locate you on the map if it can. Otherwise, just enter the coordinates or location name of the place you shot the picture, and you’ll be ready to go. As soon as your listing is finished, you’ll be ready to upload it.

Adding location data is quick and easy

Each spotting has its own page, with full-sized pictures and a small map showing where you spotted the picture. As more info is added to the page, your listing will be increasingly informative and can help you and other learn more about the world around you. Whether you live out in the country or in the middle of NYC, there’s wildlife around us every day that we can share with others and learn more about.

Your new spotting page

Conclusion

Project Noah is truly one of the more interesting photo sharing apps since it gives you a purpose for sharing. Rather than just posting what you ate for lunch, you can help everyone discover the world around them and even assist in discovery projects that are helping document the biodiversity of our planet. Plus, Project Noah’s beautiful interface is a refreshing reminder that our desktops can still be first class devices even though more and more of the cool apps come to mobile devices first.

Hopefully apps like Project Noah will help us all remember to cherish the nature we see everyday and spend more time in the great outdoors, away from glaring screens and keyboards!


Summary

Project Noah lets you share and discover the nature around you.

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  • Great project. I definitely will register

  • When I envision a Utopian society, sites like this are the building blocks for how information is gained/shared/consumed.

    Well done.. will definitely register and do my part.