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iPlover smartphone application

Designed by scientists to simplify consistent data collection and management, the iPlover smartphone application gives trained resource managers an easy-to-use platform where they can collect and share data about coastal habitat utilization across a diverse community of field technicians, scientists, and managers. With the click of a button, users can contribute biological and geomorphological data to regional models designed to forecast the habitat outlook for piping plover, and other species that depend upon sandy beach habitat.

Go to the Product(s)

iPlover app is available for iPhones and Androids on the USGS Mobile Application Directory. The app is free, but users must ask for and receive an approved login to use it.  Training is required for using the iPlover app, please contact ( if you are interested in joining the program.  In 2015, the iPlover app was used at 7 national wildlife refuges, 4 national parks and at several other state or privately managed reserves.

Additional Resources

"Smartphone-Based Distributed Data Collection Enables Rapid Assessment of Shorebird Habitat Suitability" - Paper published in the open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE on November 9, 2016

"Refugia from a rising tide" - Webinar led by US Geological Survey researcher Sara Zeigler on the preliminary steps in modeling the effects of sea-level rise on shorebird habitat with iPlover data. 

Technical description

The objective of this project is to develop linked models forecasting shoreline change, barrier island geomorphology, and habitat for beach habitat-dependent species to guide beach and species habitat management decisions.  Shorebird monitoring staff rapidly collected standardized geomorphic setting, substrate type and vegetation data at random and plover nest sites over the majority of its Atlantic coastal breeding range. These data were used to train the model for plover and other bird nesting habitat suitability, and, using a Bayesian model network approach, were linked to geomorphology and shoreline change models for locations that vary in their geologic context.

Case Studies and News Stories

"Mobile app gathers plover data across vast range" - The Wildlife Society 

"Predicting plovers" - Cape Cod Times

"Shorebird science? There's an app for that" - North Atlantic LCC news

Project Contact(s):

, Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey

Sara Ziegler, Research Associate, Virginia Tech and U.S. Geological Survey

LCC Staff Contact(s):

, Science Coordinator

iPlover smartphone application
Product Type(s):
Decision Support Tools
Interactive tools and models
Resource Type: Birds
Conservation Targets: Coastal and Marine
Conservation Framework: Assumption-based Research
Threats/Stressors: Climate change impacts, Sea-level rise and storm impacts
Conservation Action: Site/area management, Species management

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