In preparation for another busy whale season, we’ve made some exciting updates to the WhaleReport app!
We are encouraging all citizen scientists to download the newest version of the WhaleReport App and keep contributing to cetacean conservation throughout the waters of British Columbia and Washington State. If you are unsure how to update your app, check out a tutorial on how to do so here.
Don’t worry – you won’t lose your historical sighting reports when you update the app! You will now be able to see all your sightings by clicking under “View/Edit Reports”, even if you update the app or switch devices. With a tap of your finger, each map location will show the date, time, and species associated with your past sighting reports.
The BCCSN is dedicated to keeping the cetaceans in our waters protected in real-time while considering the difficulties of reporting cetaceans while out on the water. We understand that many areas of coastal British Columbia and Washington State are remote and lack proper cell service, resulting in sighting reports that are created but may remain unsubmitted once the observer is back in range. Therefore, we have added a new feature to the WhaleReport app that will automatically submit any reports made outside of cell service once the observer has re-connected. This feature is a huge step forward in increasing the amount of sighting reports to the WhaleReport Alert System (WRAS) and giving mariners ample warning to take preventative measures against striking or disturbing cetaceans in the area.
Additionally, we know that BCCSN observers want to navigate the waters in a way that is safe for cetacean species. When you update your WhaleReport app, you will now be able to access an interactive map describing the marine mammal regulations and guidelines of regions throughout coastal British Columbia and Washington State. Our hope for this feature is that it will inform and educate boaters on the importance of following the marine mammal regulations and guidelines in their area, so they can continue to report to us while respecting these animals and their space. Just tap on the location of the map that you would like to know more about!
Finally, we have made updates to the Sightings Portal, which allows observers to view and download their past sighting reports submitted through WhaleReport. Observers will now be able to hover over map points of their historical sightings to view information about each sighting such as date, time, and species. Functionality of the sightings portal from various types of devices has also been updated, with users now having the ability to minimize legend bars on smaller screens to improve visibility.
For more information on accessing your Sightings Portal or any questions relating to the latest updates to the WhaleReport app, feel free to contact the BCCSN at [email protected].