Field Survey Apps

About field survey apps

In addition to nationally consistent standardised monitoring methods, TERN develops and provides additional resources and tools for the research community to undertake monitoring in a cost-effective manner. These include innovative approaches to data collection, analysis and access. Gone are the days of handwritten notes and cumbersome field equipment. Instead, researchers can now rely on mobile technology to gather data in the field quickly, easily and most importantly, accurately.

Field survey apps are a necessary tool for precise and efficient field-based data collection. Field survey apps and standardised ecological monitoring protocols assist scientists, land managers and environmental consultants to collect consistent and comparable monitoring data. The open-source data are curated and managed by TERN and are available through the TERN Data Discovery Portal. TERN data adheres to internationally agreed principles of FAIR, supporting better access to, and re-use of, the data for multiple purposes, including research, environmental assessments and policy-making.


Monitor field survey collection app

With the Australian Government, TERN co-developed a field data collection app for use by the NRM community on Australian Government funded National Landcare Programs. The app is free for NLP users, and can be used on both Android and iOS devices and desktop computers. The app makes data collection quicker, removes time entering data at a later date along with associated errors, and uploads data to to a staging server, making the data collection process streamlined.

  • Assists with field surveys.
  • Ties data entry to standardised vocabularies.
  • Reduces time and errors associated with manual data entry.
  • Streamlines the data collection process.
  • Colllections location, time and date information automatically.
  • Enables photos, videos and sound records to be attached to data fields.
  • Uploads data to a secure server.

For now, the Monitor app is only for use by the NRM community for Australian Government National Landcare Program funded investments. To check if you can access the app, please contact TERN Ecosystem Surveillance.

Bird survey app

TERN’s ‘Progressive Web Application’ uses the TERN standardised monitoring protocol, adapted from the Birdlife Australia 2 hectares in 20-minute survey methodology.

The bird survey app looks and feels like any other app to users, but it is actually a website. This makes the TERN app faster, uses less data and operates in areas of poor network coverage, all of which are desirable when conducting studies in the field. A further benefit is that the app will work on desktop or laptop devices, in addition to mobile devices. This will ensure complete coverage for all devices that Citizen Scientists may use, without having to develop (or require Citizen Scientists to download) different versions of the app depending on the device they are using.

Development of the TERN citizen science bird monitoring project was funded through the Queensland Government’s Research Infrastructure Co-investment Fund (RICF), $1.66 million of which was provided to TERN in 2020, to leverage national research infrastructure for Queensland-based jobs, ecosystem data, and critical land ecosystem monitoring equipment.

Photo of a group of birdwatchers in the forest | Featured Image for TERN's Web-Based App Tested by Brisbane Bird Watchers Page by TERN.
Citizen Scientists test TERN's Bird Survey App during a training session (Credit: S. O'Neill)

Learnings from app development

We are making it easier for researchers and land managers to collect data.

Whilst the Monitor app is currently only available to the NRM community and specifically for projects funded by the Australian Governments National Landcare Program, we do plan to broaden the use and accessibility of this infrastructure in the future. 

TERN enables researchers with access to innovative applications and nationally consistent field methods, making data collection easier than ever before.

If you have any questions please contact us.