Map of Life App Lets Learners Explore Nearby Wildlife

Map of Life App Lets Learners Explore Nearby Wildlife

Imagine how much more we could learn about the world around us if it was accessible via a mobile app. Scientists from Yale and the University of Colorado at Boulder have worked together with the National Science Foundation, NASA, Google and Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung have worked together to create an app that "puts the world’s biodiversity in the palm of your hand".

The free Map of Life app lets anyone in the world with access to a smartphone learn about local wildlife via its huge database of species and their ranges. Almost instantly, the app will tell the user which species are likely to be found in their immediate vicinity, with associated photos and text. You can create personalised lists and observations and then add those contributions to the database to help build it further. The linked website also contains the database for desktop-based, online browsing. 

The "citizen science" aspect of this project is that such user notes and observations will help advance scientific research and conservation efforts. Geographic information about biodiversity is vital for understanding the many services nature provides and their potential changes, yet remains unreliable and often insufficient. Built on a scalable web platform geared for large biodiversity and environmental data, Map of Life endeavors to provide ‘best-possible’ species range information and species lists for any geographic area. Map of Life aims to support effective and global biodiversity education, monitoring, research and decision-making by assembling and integrating a wide range of knowledge about species distributions and their dynamics over time. 

This kind of approach could be incredibly useful for students and those learning about the environment by changing the way we identify and learn about the things around us. It's like an encylopaedia which is tailored to the user. 

The Map of Life app is available in six languages for iPhone and Android smartphones, and can be downloaded from

Join The Discussion