A consortium of organizations that are responsible for managing Israel’s natural resources, HaMaarag was set up to promote information-based management of open landscapes and natural resources for the benefit of mankind and to ensure the long-term sustainability of nature in Israel.
Monitoring natural resources across Israel to ensure long-term sustainability.
HaMaarag is a joint operation of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – the Jewish National Fund, with funding by the Heritage Project of the Prime Minister’s Office. The group studies and reports on seven wildlife classes (vegetation, birds, large mammals, small mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and isopods) across Israel to contribute to the advancement of knowledge-based management of natural resources.
The group contracts researchers and other wildlife experts who, before adopting the Fulcrum platform, conducted their field surveys with pen and paper. The organization decided to switch to a mobile solution in order to create a centralized database, which is crucial for statistical analyses, as well as to eliminate digitization errors and data loss and mitigate bias and other variables that could degrade the quality of their data and analysis.
One of the main criteria they were looking for in a mobile data collection platform was the ability to enter multiple records into one location in a hierarchical manner, where all of the observations would automatically attain all of the attributes from the monitoring plot (e.g. location, date, and time).
After considering ArcGIS Online and a bespoke monitoring app developed by the Israeli Nature and Park Authority, HaMaarag landed on Fulcrum because of its price point and technical capabilities — namely repeatable records. The Fulcrum team also implemented some special feature requests to ensure the platform met their needs.
Ease of setup and use of the apps were — and still are — the most attractive features of Fulcrum for HaMaarag. Many of their contractors have been doing field surveys with pen and paper for decades, so it was imperative that they be able to adopt the new technology.
The organization also appreciates the features that let them customize each app for the specific monitoring protocol, as well as personal preferences. The use of sections, visibility and requirement rules, varying field types, and predefined sets, make for simple and intuitive apps that don’t need any special hardware or software to run, all the while retaining a high level of data validation and accuracy.
Using Fulcrum’s internal timestamps, GPS stamps and other management tools, HaMaarag now has a way to digitally retrace workflows in the field if the need arrives. This lets them solve in real time, or months after, most issues that are an inevitable part of fieldwork in a diverse and changing environment.
One more benefit they note is the time savings. HaMaarag’s single greatest expenditure is field work by contracted professionals, which is also limited by external factors like weather conditions and wildlife activity hours. Since they started implementing Fulcrum in all of their monitoring groups, they have been able to shorten the time used to monitor each plot — or increase the output for the same time span — achieving greater efficiency.
Furthermore, most (if not all) of the post-fieldwork digitization has been eliminated from the workload, streamlining data collection from the field into their database.