Having given a good degree of thought to the critical elements of this project, and having discussed it at length during the first steering committee meeting, the major element of risk involves the timing of the production of the application. The app needs to be available, tested and fully operational by the time that the horse chestnut leaf miner moth caterpillars begin to appear and start to damage the leaves. Not only that, the marketing/publicity for it needs to have been done and hype needs to reach a crescendo for the beginning of July (so if the app isn’t ready we could end up with egg on our faces). If we miss the July deadline then we could miss collecting quite a large quantity of data. Having said that, there’s no reason why we should fail to meet the deadline for the application and it’s encouraging to think that, due to the project having a sister project in “Conker Tree Science”, we already have a large client database to inform. Therefore, disseminating news about the arrival of the application should be relatively straightforward. Famous last words. At this stage we have no idea how many of the previous Conker Tree Science folk have smart phones and will therefore, be able to use the application, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
We’ve also been considering the implications for the project actually being over successful in terms of all the demands that might put upon the server or systems that we will utilise for uploading data. In our initial musings we pretty much ruled out using the University’s system since, if the project takes off like we hope, the last thing we want to do is bring University’s network to its knees. Therefore, we are looking into alternatives… watch this space.
Assuming that the initial part of the project goes according to plan and we have the application developed we also need to make sure that, in addition to the existing client database, we market the project and the application far and wide – particularly in those areas that are of greatest importance for data collection. This basically means the far west of England, west Wales and in Scotland where the moth has not yet made significant inroads, as far as we can tell. Scientifically, this is the most interesting area to look at. So we will need to concentrate our marketing efforts predominantly around people in those areas including talking to/for radio stations, local newspapers, wildlife trusts and so on.