The Electronic Field Guide (EFG) Project has developed a number of web-based applications that facilitate the identification of species and recording of ecological observations. This project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Departments of Computer Science and Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with funding from the National Science Foundation. A full summary of the project is available here.
Robert A. Morris, Computer Sciences Robert Stevenson, Biology
Some of our current projects:
Identification Keys EFG2 - Character-based ID Mass Bio
We make open-source software that helps biologists build interactive, electronic, tree-based keys. Recent projects include keys to Costa Rican plants (Java, HTML), Stream Invertebrates of Eastern Massachusetts (Java, HTML), and Invasive Weeds in Winter (Java, HTML). EFG to Peatlands of SNEWe also make software that helps biologists build and serve species pages. Some of our most recent collaborations include Bogs and Acidic Fens of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett, and the The Flora and Fauna of Sailors' Home Pond. Mass BioMass Bio is a series of projects devoted to biodiversity observation and education in the state of Massachusetts. Our current projects include a computable guide to Massachusetts Butterflies and Mass Invaders, a website and poster about invasive plants.
EFG Nantucket Natural History of Costa Rica Virtual Nature Trails
EFG NantucketWe currently host the Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket, a collaborative effort of the Maria Mitchell Association, the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative and our own EFG Project scientists. Morning Glory image from Bill HaberExplore the plants, butterflies and dragonflies of Monteverde, Costa Rica with a series of resources developed by EFG collaborator William Haber. Mini Trail Entry SignTake a walk on one of our Virtual Nature Trails and the UMass Boston Field Station on Nantucket, or the Sailors Home Cemetery Salt Marsh Trail in Quincy, MA.
Image Gallery EFG Platemaker Flora of Mount Holyoke
birds foot violet From Amanita to Zornia, you'll find images here from across the globe, submitted by over 30 different photographers. Explore our Biodiversity Image Gallery...34,000 images and growing. EFG PlatemakerOur EFG2 software can now generate printable plates from your EFG! Authors can use EFG Platemaker to build their own laminated field guides, posters, or garden tags. Our collaborators products include a Costa Rican Bat Garden guide and guide to Beetles of Framingham, MA. EFG Platemaker The Guide to the Common Spring Wild Flowers of the Mount Holyoke Range, by Karen Searcy, is an excellent example of the way our EFGKeys and EFG2 software can work together. Use the Java-based picture key to identify a plant or go directly to the species list to browse.
Our research lab aims to provide a database management system to allow biologists and field naturalists to author their own electronic guides. The suite of software tools produced by the EFG Project is intended to simplify the production of these field guides as well as the correct identification of taxa by the end user. The EFG project overcomes certain problems inherent in the traditional book format field guides, including long time lags in preparation, expense of production, and the broad geographic scope often necessitated by economic considerations. An EFG exploits the flexibility and the ease of updating data that is inherent to the electronic format.
While our key-building and guide-making software was designed with biologists in mind, the flexibility to apply it to any science or non-scientific disciplines was integral in its development. EFGs can be used for taxonomic, environmental or ecological data, or to build a guide to the world's soccer teams or to your local restaurants.

This research is supported in part by the NSF 1998 - 2007 and by award for its continuation, Electronic Field Guides: Leveraging Biodiversity Data with the Web and Mobile Tools, and our ITR grant Biodiversity Data Discovery and Integration.

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Website maintained by J. Forman Orth. Original site design by Abbie T. Lyons. Scanned image of damselfly, male Hetaerina sempronia, (c) W. Haber. © 2004-2007 EFG Group and UMass Boston.

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