Posted by AaronClausen
I was mountain biking in the Canberra Nature Park close to home, which I always felt was just a patch of relatively boring bush consisting of gum trees and brown dirt, when I almost trampled upon and crushed a colony of the critically endangered Canberra Spider Orchid.
I had no idea what they were, but they were unusually stunning and unique
Waltraud Pix from Friends of Mount Majura put me in touch with the ACT Government’s Conservation Planning and Research unit's Dr Michael Mulvaney. As it turned out, Dr Mulvaney was really interested in knowing how many plants I’d stumbled across, where they were and what condition they were in.
So I became very curious and began to look for more Canberra Spider Orchids as well as many other species all over the ACT - a whole new world was opening up to me.
I never looked at the bush in the same way again.
The vast amounts of information that I was collecting became too cumbersome to manage. So I built a very rough prototype over the Christmas holidays in 2013 to manage it all and sent the link through to the ACT Government conservation officers that I now had this informal productive relationship with.
They started sharing the link with their colleagues.
It grew very quickly both in terms of the participation from the local community as well as the technology platform that supported it all.
Fast forward 10 years and I'm still working on the platform, making lots of improvements Australia wide and are fortunate enough to have an incredible team around me who share NatureMapr's vision.