Nicole K

DISPLAYING POSTS BY: Nicole K (10)

Nicole K

Nicole works with museums around Australia to create field guide apps for Apple and Android devices. She has a passion for wildlife and loves that her job involves sharing this passion in such an innovative and engaging way.

New field guide apps

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by Nicole K
Publish date
2 July 2013
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When we blog about Museum Victoria's Field Guide to Victorian Fauna app, we usually talk about its content (animal descriptions, sounds, images, etc). But behind all this content are hundreds of lines of code – the instructions that determine how the app functions.

This code was developed by Museum Victoria's app developers. In 2011 we published it online under an open source licence. This means that anyone can use it to produce a similar app, for free. (For more information see our Field Guide to the Field Guide blog).

And people are using it! Over the past two years, we've learned about a number of projects using our code. Some app developers have contacted us to ask questions and share ideas; others have charged ahead on their own.

This is exactly what we hoped would happen, so we're very excited to announce that three apps using our code have been released in the past month:

Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia
This app contains 31 of Australia's 56 vertebrate pest species, such as Cane Toads, Carp, Foxes and Mynas. Created by the Invasive Animals CRC, it includes information about the biology and origin of these introduced pests, as well as the damage they cause. Wondering how a tiny Asian House Gecko can harm our native wildlife? Check out this app.

Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia app screens (iPad & iPhone) Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia app screens (iPad & iPhone)
Image: Invasive Animals CRC
Source: Invasive Animals CRC

New Zealand Marine Life Field Guide
Produced by the Auckland Museum, this app holds descriptions of over 130 of New Zealand's most common marine plants and animals. All common names appear in both English and Māori: from Haku (Yellowtail Kingfish) to Honu (Green Turtle) to Rimurimu (Neptune's Necklace).

New Zealand Marine Life Field Guide app screens (iPad & iPhone) New Zealand Marine Life Field Guide app screens (iPad & iPhone)
Image: Auckland Museum
Source: Auckland Museum
 
Grand Canyon National Park Field Guide
Produced by ParksConnect, this app highlights common plants and animals found in the Grand Canyon National Park, such as Coyotes, Californian Condors, Tarantulas and Banana Yuccas. Hear the roar of a Mountain Lion, the call of a Hummingbird and the thunder-clap of head-butting Bighorn Sheep!

Grand Canyon Field Guide app screens (iPhone) Grand Canyon Field Guide app screens (iPhone)
Image: ParksConnect
Source: ParksConnect
 

MV’s Field Guide app - now on Android!

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by Nicole K
Publish date
6 May 2013
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Since the launch of MV's Field Guide app for Apple mobile devices, we've received hundreds of requests for an Android version, my favourite being:


All I want for Christmas is an update on the Android field guide!

Well – drumroll – it's here!

Last Friday, we were very proud that Senator The Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Science and Research and Minister Assisting for Tourism, was able to join us at Melbourne Museum to celebrate this significant milestone. 

  Field Guide apps team pose with Minister Farrell: Simon Sherrin, Jo Taylor, Ely Wallis, Ajay Ranipeta, Minister Farrell, Blair Patullo (absent: Nicole Kearney, Michael Mason). Field Guide apps team pose with Minister Farrell: Simon Sherrin, Jo Taylor, Ely Wallis, Ajay Ranipeta, Minister Farrell, Blair Patullo (absent: Nicole Kearney, Michael Mason).
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Development of the Android version is part of a wider project, funded by the Australian Government under the Inspiring Australia, Unlocking Australia's Potential scheme, where we are working with museums around the country to deliver field guide apps for all States and Territories.

The MV Field Guide app is now available through Google Play for Android devices – including tablets, phablets and phones. And it's free.

The MV Field Guide home screen (shown here on a Nexus 7) The MV Field Guide home screen (shown here on a Nexus 7)
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The app contains over 730 Victorian animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes and marine and freshwater invertebrates. Each detailed description includes stunning images, distribution maps, endangered status and animal sounds (for birds, frogs and other noisy critters).

The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria's bird emblem (shown here on a Nexus 7) The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria's bird emblem (shown here on a Nexus 7)
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria

Apple device users will be able to download an updated iOS version in the coming weeks. The new version represents a significant upgrade to the existing iOS app.

Additions to the new Android app (and coming soon for Apple devices) include:

  • Over 30 new species (many added as a result of user requests), including the Great White Shark, the Giant Gippsland Earthworm and Victoria's bird emblem, the Helmeted Honeyeater
  • New marine mammals: seals, dolphins, whales
  • 75 new bird calls, including the Powerful Owl, the Little Penguin, the Tawny Frogmouth, the Sacred Kingfisher and the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • The complete set of frog calls
  • The updated Victorian Endangered Status for all vertebrate species (bringing the app in line with the DSE's 2013 Advisory List for Threatened Vertebrate Fauna)

New species in the MV Field Guide app

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by Nicole K
Publish date
5 April 2013
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To celebrate the upcoming release of the Android version of the MV Field Guide app, we're adding a suite of new species; species that have been specifically requested by the users of the existing iOS app.

However, we were missing images of a few species, including Victoria's bird emblem the Helmeted Honeyeater. With no images, these species were going to be left out of the app.

So we asked our MV Blog readers for help – and the response was overwhelming!

Helmeted Honeyeater, <i>Lichenostomus melanops cassidix</i> Helmeted Honeyeater, Lichenostomus melanops cassidix
Image: Ian J. Wilson
Source: Ian J. Wilson
 

Thank you to everyone who sent in images for our MV Field Guide photography competition. We wanted to include them all, but we had to be mindful of download size (with over 700 species in the app, that's a lot of pictures).

The winning photographers were:

  • Neville Bartlett
  • Leo Berzins
  • Arthur Carew
  • Micha Jackson
  • Gordon Slater
  • Ian J. Wilson

Thanks to these people, the upcoming Android version of the MV Field Guide (and the iOS upgrade) will include the Helmeted Honeyeater, the Diamond Firetail and the Little Eagle (along with 25 other new species).

Haven't got the MV Field Guide app? Download it for free from the App Store. Android users, stay tuned – it's coming soon!

UPDATE: The Android version is now available from Google Play. Hooray!

Diamond Firetail, <em>Stagonopleura guttata</em> Diamond Firetail, Stagonopleura guttata
Image: Gordon Slater
Source: Gordon Slater
 

Want your photo in the MV Field Guide app?

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
6 March 2013
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Comments (2)

If you're looking for Victoria's bird emblem, you won't find it in Museum Victoria's Field Guide to Victorian Fauna app.

This is our best picture of a Helmeted Honeyeater. Do you have a better one? This is our best picture of a Helmeted Honeyeater. Do you have a better one?
Image: Nicole Kearney
Source: Museum Victoria

The app contains over 700 Victorian species, but the Helmeted Honeyeater isn't one of them. Why not? We don't have a picture of one.

Museum Victoria is almost ready to launch the MV Field Guide app on the Android network – we just need a few final images. Can you help?

If you have a photograph of any of the species below, send it to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au. If we like it, we'll give you a double pass for our museums and a $30 gift voucher for our museum shops. You'll also be credited as the image's photographer (and get your name in the MV Field Guide app).

  • Helmeted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops cassidix
  • Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata
  • Plains Wanderer Pedionomus torquatus
  • Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides


Haven't got the MV Field Guide app? Download it for free from the App Store. Android users, stay tuned – it's coming soon!

UPDATE: The Android version is now available from Google Play. Hooray!

Terms and conditions

To submit an image, you must be the copyright holder (or have permission from the copyright holder). Images should be provided at a size of 2048px along their longest edge (please do not send watermarked images).

By submitting a photograph you agree that, if your image is selected, Museum Victoria may publish and reproduce your photograph in Field Guide apps and associated projects. Museum Victoria will credit the photographer in every circumstance where the photo is used.

Museum Victoria passes and shop vouchers are valid at Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks (for 12 months from the date the selected entries are announced). Travel, parking, accommodation and other expenses are the responsibility of the winners.

This competition is open to everyone. Competition closes 24/03/13 at 5pm EST. Photographs submitted after this date may be considered for future releases of the app, but will not be eligible for the prizes above. Winners will be contacted via email and announced on the MV Blog. Judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

MV's Conditions of Use policy applies.

Coloured diamonds

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
19 August 2012
Comments
Comments (1)

Your Question: How do diamonds get their colours? What's so special about the pink ones?

Diamonds are made up of carbon atoms arranged in rigid tetrahedrons (triangular pyramids).  Pure diamonds are transparent and colourless. They are very rare and therefore very valuable.

Five diamonds from E.J Dunn collection found in Beechworth Five diamonds from E.J Dunn collection found in Beechworth.
Image: Frank Coffa
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Most naturally-coloured diamonds are created when trace elements interact with the carbon atoms during the diamond's creation. The presence of chemical elements such as nitrogen, sulphur, and boron can colour diamonds in shades of yellow, green and blue.

Diamond specimens from the Great Southern mine (Rutherglen, Victoria). Diamond specimens from the Great Southern mine (Rutherglen, Victoria).
Image: Frank Coffa
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Pink diamonds, however, are a different story.Trace elements have never been found in pink diamonds. Instead, the colour is caused by a distortion in the diamond's crystal lattice, created by intense heat and great pressure from all directions (non-isotropic stress) after the stone's formation in the earth. This distortion displaces many carbon atoms from their normal positions and alters the qualities of light reflected by the diamond. It is this special configuration of the molecules that allows us to observe the stone as pink.

Although pink diamonds are found throughout the world, pink diamonds from the Argyle Mine are said to have the finest colour of fancy, intense pink (colour saturation). This is because Argyle pinks possess densely-packed graining planes that emanate pink colour (twinning lamination). In contrast, non-Argyle pinks have few and indistinct pink graining and are therefore generally lighter in colour. The pink graining in Argyle stones is sometimes visible to the naked eye.

Pink diamonds are not just special because of their structure; they're also incredibly rare: for every one million carats of diamond produced at Argyle, only one carat will be of high-quality pink colour.

The Argyle Pink Jubilee diamond (from Argyle Diamond Mine, WA): the largest pink diamond ever found in Australia, donated to Museum Victoria by Rio Tinto. The Argyle Pink Jubilee diamond (from Argyle Diamond Mine, WA): the largest pink diamond ever found in Australia, donated to Museum Victoria by Rio Tinto.
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The largest pink diamond ever found in Australia is the Argyle Pink Jubilee diamond (8.01 carats). It was donated to Museum Victoria by Rio Tinto and is currently on display in Melbourne Museum's Dynamic Earth exhibition.

Got a question? Ask us!

Links:

Museum Victoria: Australia’s largest pink diamond

Melbourne Museum: Dynamic Earth

Museum Victoria: Diamonds

The Age: Rare diamond puts Melbourne Museum in the pink

Moon gazing across the globe

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
22 July 2012
Comments
Comments (6)

Your Question: How can my wife and I gaze at the full moon together, but from opposite sides of the globe?

Our enquirer is in Jervis Bay, on the East Coast of Australia. His wife is in Ottawa, Canada. They contacted Museum Victoria to ask if we can help them plan a romantic evening – a full Moon-gazing date on opposite sides of the Earth.

A full moon seen from Ontario, Canada. A full moon seen from Ontario, Canada.
Image: Michael Gil
Source: Wikimedia Commons
 

The next full Moon will occur on the 1st or 2nd of August 2012 (depending on what time zone you are in). In Ottawa, the Moon will rise at 7:55pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) on 1 August. It will be at its absolute fullest at 11:27pm and will continue to be visible until it sets on 2 August at 6:28am.

Sadly in Jervis Bay's time zone, the full Moon will occur when the Moon is not visible from that side of the Earth, at 1:27pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time). The Moon will have set that morning at 6:24 and will not rise again until 5:32 that evening.

All is not lost, however. The Moon-watching date can still occur, just not at the precise moment when the Moon is at its fullest. Our couple will just have to wait a few hours.

When the Moon rises on the night of 2 August in Jervis Bay (at 5:32pm AEST), it will be 3:32am in Ottawa (EDT). The Moon will be visible in both places and will remain so until it sets in Ottawa at 6:28am (EDT). This means our two Moon-gazers can watch the still-very-full Moon "together" for nearly 3 hours.

If the idea of getting up so early diminishes the romance from the Canadian perspective, our Moon-gazers can wait a few days – if they are happy to look at a Moon that is no longer full.

On 4 August, the Moon will rise in Jervis Bay at 7:38pm (AEST). It will be 6:02am in Ottawa (EDT). The Moon will be visible in both locations until it sets in Ottawa at 8:48am. Unfortunately this means the Canadian half of our Moon-gazing couple will be looking at the Moon during daylight (the Sun will rise in Ottawa on 4 August at 5:51am).

While arranging this date was tricky, it was only possible because our lovers are not on exactly opposite sides of the Earth. If they were, there would be no chance of viewing the Moon that the same time (for more than an instant and only then if they had a perfect view of the horizon). And one of them would have to be in a boat. Less than 4% of all land on Earth (and no part of the Australian mainland) is antipodal (diametrically opposite) to land: the antipode of Jervis Bay is in the North Atlantic Ocean; the antipode of Ottawa is in the Indian Ocean.

Maps showing Jervis Bay, Australia, and its antipode, in the North Atlantic Ocean. Maps showing Jervis Bay, Australia, and its antipode, in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Image: Antipodes Map
Source: Antipodes Map
 

Links

Melbourne Planetarium: Skynotes

Melbourne Planetarium: Moon Phases

US Navy: Rise/Set times for Sun/Moon

Antipodes Map

timeanddate.com

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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