Nicole K

DISPLAYING POSTS BY: Nicole K (11)

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.

Taking nature to the nation

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
1 May 2014
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In 2011 Museum Victoria produced our first Field Guide app: the MV Field Guide to Victorian Fauna.

The app has since been downloaded by over 85,000 people and gets great reviews. But there has been a repeated request – a request from people who don't live in Victoria.

Where are the apps for the other Australian states and territories?

This wasn't something we could address on our own. To make apps for the other states and territories, we needed the shared expertise of natural history museums around the country.

In 2012, Museum Victoria was successful in applying for an Inspiring Australia Unlocking Australia's Potential Grant to produce seven new Field Guide apps in collaboration with:

  • Australian Museum
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
  • Queensland Museum
  • South Australian Museum
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • Western Australian Museum


For the past two years, scientists around Australia have been writing species descriptions, sourcing images and we have been tweaking the code. We have also worked with colleagues from the Atlas of Living Australia to source taxonomic names, conservation status and recorded observations of each species.

We are very excited to announce that the products of this nation-wide collaborative project are now available.

Field Guide to ACT Fauna app (iPhone & iPad) Field Guide to ACT Fauna app (iPhone & iPad)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

There are now eight apps – Field Guides to the Fauna of New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and the ACT – as well as a new version of the original Field Guide to Victorian Fauna.

Collectively the apps contain 2105 species, 7281 images and 270 audio files.

They are available for both Apple and Android devices. And are all absolutely FREE.

We hope you enjoy them!

Links to the App Store and Google Play can be found via our National Field Guide Apps webpage.

Field Guide to Victorian Fauna (Android) Field Guide to Victorian Fauna (Android)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

New field guide apps

Author
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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Comments (7)
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

Author
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

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

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