Johnson's organization launches invasive plant tracker app
In order to keep track of California’s weeds, and, more importantly, where they’re spreading, Cal-IPC has worked with state and local experts to evaluate a list of invasive and noxious plants.
“We went through those plants, looking through all the quadrangles of various counties or regions and decided how generally abundant they are, whether they are spreading and if they are under management,” said Johnson.
With the data compiled, the group built an interactive, public site called CalWeedMapper, which uses a mosaic of 7.5-minute quadrangle tiles (covering an area of roughly six by eight miles). Though the map’s resolution is still very “coarse,” according to Johnson, the group has begun to harness the collective power of thousands of smartphone-wielding amateur botanists. Mountain bikers in Mendocino, say, or hikers in the Alabama Hills on the east slopes of Mount Whitney can take note of invasive plants and upload their locations to CalWeedMapper by way of a smartphone app called Observer.