MIT Public Service Center

Develop a Smart Phone Application to Help Asia Stop Trafficking of Endangered Wildlife

USAID Asia sponsored ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) program implemented by FREELAND Foundation and partners.
www.freeland.org/arrest

Background

The multi-billion-dollar illegal wildlife trade threatens Asia's unique ecosystems and robs people of the benefits they provide. It threatens to cause the extinction of many unique species, while also strengthening criminal syndicates and increasing people's risk of exposure to diseases transmitted from animals to humans. ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) works on multiple fronts to develop Asia’s capacity to stop trafficking of endangered flora and fauna. Wildlife transported and traded illegally can range from live animals such as tiger cubs and tortoises, to products such as furs and ivory. To stop trafficking of endangered species, Asia’s police, customs and border authorities need to be able to identify which species are endangered and prohibited from trade.

The Challenge

Giving frontline officers access to clear pictures of frequently traded endangered species and their derivative products, along with information on relevant laws prohibiting their trade will enable better law enforcement and protection for Asia's biodiversity. Species ID guides have already been developed in multiple languages. Putting this resource at officers’ fingertips in the field via their smart phones is what this project aims to do. The application will also facilitate geo-tagged reporting of illegal trade. With FREELAND Foundation and its partners providing the content and detailing the required functionality, the challenge is to develop a user interface and database for the application from existing open source technology.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

Technical ability to develop an iPhone or Android mobile application that utilizes a rich information database which can be updated and expanded. Ability to design a simple user interface that officers from non-English speaking countries can use.

Time constraints

The project aims to have working beta version of the mobile phone application available for download by June 2012.

Contact

Seamas McCaffrey
Communications Consultant
FREELAND Foundation
591 UBC II Bldg., 10th Fl., Room 1001, Sukhumvit Soi 33, North Klongton, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, THAILAND
+66-2-204-2719 to 21
seamas@freeland.org

PSC Support

MIT students who develop projects around these ideas may apply for support from the Public Service Center's Fellowships and Internships programs. Please check the program descriptions and deadlines and talk to program staff to determine which is most appropriate for your needs and project.

If you want to volunteer or you have funding from outside the PSC that enables you to work on this project, that's great! However, please do let us know if you work on a project you saw advertised here, even if you don't use our funds. And remember, the PSC staff are happy to advise on service projects even if we are not funding them ourselves.

Please note that the organization has funding for technology licensing for the project, but not for stipends.

 
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