Jun 29, 2020

Slowed by Covid-19, but much closer to launch!

Android Pterocarpus Forest Tour App
Android Pterocarpus Forest Tour App

Pterocarpus Forest GlobalGiving Report – June 29, 2020


The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Island and the subsequent lockdown delayed but did not stop our efforts to complete the Forest Tour App project.

Since the last report we completed the “script” for the app, with a variety of Pterocarpus Forest and pertinent, nature-related themes organized around 18 “stops” which start at the Forest entrance and continue along the ¾-mile elevated interior walkway and end at the Observation Tower and Visitors’ Gazebo. The final version was completed at the end of May, and included audio and visuals (narration in English and Spanish, photographs, videos, recorded sounds) appropriate to each stop or theme (such as recycling in nature, methods of seed dispersal in the Forest, and the impact of hurricanes).

The app was sent to Apple and Android for review. The Android version was approved and The Pterocarpus Forest application is now available for download in the Google Play Store (a "screenshot" is attached).

The Apple review is in its final stages, supportive proprietary information about the App developer (PHA Pterocarpus Forest, Inc.) having been sent in the past two weeks.

The next steps to be taken include posting new signage at the entrance and within the Forest identifying the “stops” mentioned in the application and included in the narration. Once this is done, we intend to conduct a “dry run” of the app with the collaboration of volunteers and interpretive specialists and to make corrections and modifications as needed.

While we review the quality and evaluations of the app experience, we will publicize its availability on our website and in social media.

As soon as possible, the Board will be invited to meet, virtually or physically, to experience the final version of the application.   Hope the next report includes an invitation to download the App and visit the Forest!

Mar 2, 2020

Ready to Launch the App in the next Quarter

Pterocarpus Forest GlobalGiving Report -- March 1, 2020

As you may recall, we have been working on interpretative, educational material on a variety of themes organized around 18 “stops” (originally 25) which start at the Forest entrance, continue along the ¾-mile elevated interior walkway and end at the Observation Tower and Visitors’ Gazebo. The discussion of the draft text (“script”) in the last report included photographs, illustrations, videos and sounds appropriate to each stop or theme (which include topics like recycling in nature, the various methods of seed dispersal in the forest, and the impact of invasive species).

After our last meeting with Virtualize.net, we discussed the draft script, the significant changes recommended by Turabo in terms of video and illustrative materials, and also instructed Virtualize.net to initiate the next steps in the technological parts of the process, including getting the applications in the Apple and Android systems.

Since the last report:

  • The text of all of the stops was updated in the Tour Application by VirtualizeNet, the company handling the technological and production components of the Forest Tour App, with the last revised version of the text.
  • After all the texts were updated, VirtualizeNet took additional photos more appropriate to or consistent with the revised texts and updated them in the application.
  • VirtualizeNet will continue to search for, or produce, images and / or videos that depend upon seasonal changes in the Forest environment referred to in the narrative.
  • In the early part of this month (March) VirtualizeNet will begin the process of the publication of the App on Android and Apple application platforms. They have recommended that Apple be approached first, and will do so as soon as possible, as it may take longer to be approved and published on that platform.
  • Recording of the bilingual audio portion of the project will begin in mid- to late March. In the meanwhile, we may first publish the App as text, without the accompanying audio, which will be added at a later date. This decision on this matter will be taken at the next meeting with VirtualizeNet and the PHA Pterocarpus Board of Directors early this month.

We now expect to debut the completed App, including the audio sections, before the Annual Assembly of the Palmas Homeowners’ Association, a major Forest collaborator, on April 18, 2020.

Links:

Dec 4, 2019

Not where we wanted to be, but for good cause

GlobalGiving Quarterly Report, Monday, December 1, 2019

 

Since our last report, at the end of September, professors and students from the School of Natural Sciences and Technology at the Turabo campus of the Ana G. Mendez University, and members of the faculty read, reviewed and critiqued the Spanish and English versions of the illustrated, 50-page draft script for the Pterocarpus Forest Tour App.  They conducted “fact checks”, and made recommendations about content, art and graphics that we have reviewed and have, in most instances, accepted.   The scientific review period was begun in mid-September and the report was submitted by the University on October 31st

 

We are currently making the changes to content, in house, while awaiting for Virtualize.net to find new illustrations, make videos and take pictures to enhance the content as recommended by the university.  The in-house changes require some additional research about vines, a prominent Forest feature.  The scientific team at the University raised serious questions about our data.

 

The University, its faculty and its undergraduate and graduate students have conducted research projects within the Forest over the past several years.  

 

As you may recall, the original draft script consisted of interpretative, educational material on a variety of themes organized around 25 “stops”.  These stops start at the Forest entrance, continue along the ¾-mile elevated interior walkway and end at the Observation Tower and Visitors’ Gazebo.  The draft includes or suggests photographs, illustrations, videos and sounds appropriate to each stop or theme (which include topics like recycling in nature, the various methods of seed dispersal in the forest, and the impact of invasive species).    

 

After our last meeting with Virtualize.net, which is handling the technological components of the Forest Tour App, we discussed the draft script, the significant changes recommended by Turabo in terms of video and illustrative materials, and also instructed Virtualize.net to initiate the next steps in the technological parts of the process, including getting the applications in the Apple and Android systems.

 

The project was not advanced for a “dry run” by the end of October as originally planned.  Part of the process has been interrupted by fundraising efforts around #GivingTuesday (tomorrow, hence the late submission of our report).   We realized a while back that the project will be more  more expensive than originally budgeted.  

 

We expect to be able to debut the completed App at the end of January 2020 at a special Forest activity.

 
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