The Fluker Post Research Project: Community-Based Environmental Monitoring
A project developed by Dr Martin Fluker, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Recording environmental change since 2008

Download the Fluker Post App!!!!!
https://sites.google.com/site/flukerpost02/home/Screen%20Shot%202018-03-21%20at%203.26.07%20pm.png
People can now help monitor over 150 precious environments on their phones via a new app – the Fluker Post App. This app, which was released in March 2018, is a collaboration between Victoria University and the Victorian Government to encourage the community to capture photos of the waterways and landscapes love and use, and immediately upload them into the app to provide a permanent visual record of the location. The app includes an archive of historical photos and allows users to see what the location looked like under different weather or management regimes. 

The Fluker Post App brings together 10 years of photo monitoring in a new and accessible way for the community to enjoy. The app allows people to take photos from any Fluker Post site directly from the app as well as scroll through collections on their phone. Just hit the "add" button and the app will automatically detect the Fluker Post you are standing next to.

The Victorian Government is committed to improving the health of waterways and catchments, and new tools such as the Fluker Post App will support this investment by capturing information from the community about the changing environment. The Victorian Government has funded the development of this app, through the $30 million Regional Riparian Action Plan, which is part of the $222 million committed to improving the health of waterways and catchments in Victoria. 

The Fluker Post App can be downloaded for free via:





The Fluker Post Project now operates in two ways - the Fluker Post App method, and the "email your photo in" method that has been in operation since 2008. The traditional "email it in" system that allows community members to make photographic contributions by taking photographs from fixed photo-points (Fluker Posts), emailing them in to flukerpost@gmail.com, and having them arranged in chronological order within Google Photo albums.


For this non-app method, no camera is left in the field.  Instead, the top of each eponymously named Fluker Post is cut at such an angle that any digital camera can be placed in the "camera cradle" and the same perspective is recorded every time.  We get photographs sent in from various types of cameras (iPhones, compact digitals, SLR's, etc.), and while the images may reflect slightly different views of the scene created by different focal lengths etc., valuable information on the visual state of the environment can always be deducted. Instructions on each Fluker Post ask people passing by (bush walkers, local residents taking their dog for a walk, tourists visiting the region, etc.) to use their own camera, place it in the cradle, take a photo and send it in. This project started in May 2008. Just check out the Fluker Posts by region in the tables below, and then follow the link to web album to see the visual changes occurring at these environments over long periods of time.













Fluker Post Album Links by Region/Project

The DELWP Funded Rivers 2040 Project (spread throughout the state of Victoria)
 RIV1RIV2 RIV3 RIV4 RIV5 RIV6 RIV7 RIV8 RIV9 RIV10
 RIV11 RIV12 RIV13 RIV14 RIV15 RIV16 RIV17 RIV18 RIV19 RIV20
 RIV21 RIV22 RIV23 RIV24 RIV25 RIV26 RIV27 RIV28 RIV29 RIV30
 RIV31 RIV32 RIV33 RIV34 RIV35 RIV36 RIV37 RIV38 RIV39 RIV40
 RIV41 RIV42 RIV43 RIV44 RIV45 RIV46 RIV47 RIV48 RIV49 RIV50
 RIV51 RIV52 RIV53 RIV54 RIV55 RIV56 RIV57 RIV58 RIV59 RIV60

Heathmont

The Great Ocean Walk/Great Otway National Park

The Surf Coast Region - Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

The Bellarine Peninsula Region
 BB1 BB2 BB3

The Warrnambool Region

Victorian Marine Parks
The Mornington Peninsula Region

You Yangs Regional Park
 YY1 YY2YY3 

The Great Barrier Reef
MW1 MW2 MW3 

Sandringham Beach

Clifton Springs Region

Point Lonsdale Region

Melton Botanic Garden

Brisbane Ranges National Park

The Gunbower National Park
 G1G2G3 

Derrimut
Kororoit Creek
South Australia - Adelaide

Sea Girt, New Jersey, USA


Tasmania


It's a simple system that works.

The number of Fluker Posts in the ground as of November 2017: 143


Research
The Fluker Post Research Project is operated as a research project through Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. The types of research questions we are seeking to find answers to include:
  • How can we build a tool that allows land managers to detect change and make management decisions that result in sustainability gains?
  • How does longitudinal community-based environmental monitoring align with non-citizen science methods of environmental monitoring?
  • How can community-based environmental monitoring be used in a classroom situation?
  • How can the concept of citizen science be effectively employed to create historical records of changes occurring at natural environments?
  • How can we track the long term environmental changes caused by such affects as climate change, usage, precipitation, and the spread of disease?
  • How do users of public spaces relate to the environments they are experiencing?
  • How do methods of repair or modification of natural environments last over time?

Recent Fluker Post Related publications:



Augar, N., & Fluker, M., 2014, "Developing social media for community based environmental monitoring," Proceedings of the 25th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, ACIS


When surveyed about the value of the Fluker Post project, here is what some of the land managers involved in the project said:

"We were looking for a heightened way of engaging the community. I actually thought this would be a good mechanism that not only engages them and brings them along but also empowers them to feel a sense of ownership and involvement in managing the environment"

"It's an opportunity to bring the community along in an even stronger way given that they’ve been part of that program to various measures on community working bees. This also makes a stronger connection, ownership, etc., with the site as well and people feel like they may be contributing"

"What we were hoping for, when we put the photo point posts in, was to get some valuable monitoring data of how these sites have progressed over time. Often, what really tells a story are visual tools"


The Fluker Post project welcomes collaborations with academics from a range of disciplines. If you would like to be involved, please email Martin.Fluker@vu.edu.au


Current Collaborations

This project has engaged with the following industry, local government, land management agency and educational partners: Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Melbourne Water, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, North Central Catchment Management Authority, Bellarine Bayside Coastal Management, Bellarine Catchment Network, Bellarine Landcare Group, Swan Bay Environment Association, City of Greater Geelong, Warrnambool City Council, Borough of Queenscliffe, Bayside Council, Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden, Friends of Sandringham Beach, Deakin University, Monash University, RMIT University, the University of South Australia, New Jersey Army National Guard, Cardno, Warrnambool East Primary School, Derrimut Primary School, Clifton Springs Primary School, and nearly 2,000 community volunteers who have taken photos from Fluker Posts and emailed them in.

The efforts of all these partners are hugely appreciated. Many thanks :)



The following items of media coverage related to the Fluker Post project help to further explain the project: