It’s been almost a year since I began my CCD Mapping website, which has yet to launch… Nice to get motivated by another fantastic mapping project, the Feral Bee Project, “a site focused on creating a national database of feral honey bee populations.” Ronnie Bouchon built the site himself from the ground up using Google’s API and Google spreadsheets. Hat’s off to this committed human being! Some people in my beekeeping club actually thought it was a bad idea to map feral colonies, out of some fear that people would go mess with them now that they knew where there were. Overprotective bee lovers?
The possibilities of using the Feral Bee Project’s data to build heat maps and do other analysis excites me to get my participatory CCD mapping site off the ground. As Ronnie has done, I am ever-evaluating the mapping technologies and Google’s tools are tempting. I like the benefits of his site design: no “user log-in” or “registration” to thwart the average nature-not-computer lover, no submission approval process (not yet warranted, he reports), and a nice interface for finding your place on the map. But I’ve always been partial to hosting all of my project data on my own sites, instead of relying on Google spreadsheets hosted who knows where. It is fantastic to have all the data in an accessible spreadsheet, however, instead of buried in some SQL database, IMO.
The sensitivity about mapping colony collapse disorder events makes such an open methodology difficult to gain acceptance, I’ve assumed. Perhaps that assumption is wrong. Now that we have something of a definitive list of symptoms and patterns being published this month about how to recognize CCD, perhaps a community-generated dataset won’t be filled with speculative points that may dilute the value and accuracy of the data collected. What do you think? I’ll invite Ronnie Bouchon to comment. His site, Savethehives.com lists another project in the works and it would be great to get an update on how that is going.
“With all the media coverage and public awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder, there is still not a single database of reported cases of CCD. The CCD Map would be provide a web-based approach for collecting and presenting reported cases of CCD in a way that could help researchers and government agencies understand this national crisis. This national database of information will be centrally maintained and available to research programs and universities.”
Ronnie, any news about the CCD mapping project? What have been your biggest hurdles and what do your collaborators in the beekeeping world say about creating a CCD map? Comment here for us.