With more than 200 frog species in Australia, compiling an electronic field guide – in the form of an app – would be a daunting task. But that is exactly what JCU researcher Dr Conrad Hoskin and PhD student Stewart MacDonald have achieved, along with Professor Gordon Grigg (UQ) and David Stewart.
After three long years of hard work, the “Frogs of Australia – eGuide” has just been released for sale on iTunes and is compatible with iPhones, iPads and iPod touch.
The app is the most comprehensive available on the market, and the only one to feature up-to-date descriptions, location maps, call sounds and images of nearly all 238 known frog species in Australia. (Images and call data are missing for just a few frogs that are extremely rare or thought extinct.)
The app has a number of easy-to-use navigation options and also plots your position and allows you to search for local frogs. “There is nothing like this app on the market,” Dr Hoskin says. “It took the four of us years to complete, with plenty of time and effort going into getting the app together with all the text, maps, photos, and calls.”
“Field guides are really only useful if they’re comprehensive and ours is the only app that covers all currently described frog species,” said Stewart MacDonald, who developed the app.
“We will be constantly updating the app as new frog data comes in, and an Android version is currently in development.”
As for the ethos behind all the hard work that went into making the app, Dr Hoskin says they made it as a resource for the community. “It is important that people learn and love the wonderful world of frogs. It is comprehensive, so that frogs will be identified correctly. Ultimately we hope it will help frogs, the most threatened of all wildlife groups.”