Dunkadoo builds tools to help scientists study our natural world and make science more accessible to the public.
We founded Dunkadoo as a non-profit when we noticed that professional counters at migration sites were still using paper to record the birds they count. After a long day, they went back to a computer and transferred all that data by hand. It seemed so 20th century! Thus, our first tools help counters enter data on a device and display it on the web instantly. Even better, we provide a display for each site that’s fun for the public to explore. Our goal: make it possible to digitally see waves of migration as they’re happening.
What's With the Name?
The name is intentionally different, and we love it.
Conservation organizations are typically an alphabet soup of acronyms and descriptive names, whereas software projects tend to have whimsical names and a collaborative spirit. Dunkadoo is first and foremost a software project founded to provide enterprise-class software for environmental causes.
We wanted something easily remembered and spelled, something that one birder could recommend to another on the boardwalk without having to write it down.
Hundreds of possible names later, we landed on a few historical books of old-fashioned bird names. When we came across Dunkadoo, an old New England name for the American Bittern, we knew we had a winner. If you’re wondering, “Dunk-a-doo” is the sound the bird makes from its secretive place in the marsh.
How Does it Work?
It’s easy to learn and use! The app has a count interface featuring rows of buttons with the species’ names on them that work like the cell counters biologists have used for decades. Counters can tap buttons to increment the number or put in larger numbers via a number keypad. We can configure questions for you to answer for every sighting or as granular as a particular molt of a species. Need a special taxonomy or want to add dragonflies to your bird taxonomy? We can do that!
Weather, flight information, and pretty much any other data you want to collect gets entered on a separate “metadata” page. The app has a simple editor to make changes to your sightings and a datasheet that shows species tallies by hour.
The app works with or without an internet connection. If you’ve got cellular reception at your site, you can connect your tablet to the internet to take advantage of the live data broadcast and integrations with other systems such as submitting data to HawkCount.org every few minutes. If you’re collecting data in a remote location, you’ll just work offline, and when you’re back to civilization, your data will upload in seconds once you reconnect to the internet.
If you choose to broadcast live data, we know your members and donors will love it. Besides colorful graphs and text updates on what is being counted, we’ll configure your site with materials you provide: your logo, an overview of your organization, details about your project, and links to send visitors to your website and donation page.
Once your data is on the web, you can download it anytime in formats that are compatible with the software you already use. By keeping the cloud database synchronized with the field, you won’t miss any changes that were made on the tablets.
Want to get started? The app is a free download from the Google Play Store. Contact us so we can set up your site and configure your projects!
Russell Conard and Carol Goodman are two passionate environmentalists who also happen to be software developers. With experience ranging from marsh surveys for Bird Studies Canada to nest surveys in the Everglades, these two have worked with and done environmental fieldwork with seasoned biologists from coast to coast. As both are avid birders, many of Dunkadoo’s first projects are dedicated to bird research.
Russell and Carol both understood that conservation organizations had a pressing need for digital field data collection and founded Dunkadoo in early 2016 to address those needs. Both felt a commitment to help the scientists doing fieldwork and to make their projects more accessible for the public.
Some apps existed for citizen science use, but none could handle the rigorous and constantly changing demands of environmental researchers. The Dunkadoo app was built from scratch based on years of field testing, consultation with scientists and fieldwork professionals, and feedback from partner organizations. Some of the best field biologists in the country have helped to create and test the app.
President and Lead Developer
Russell serves as the president and lead developer of Dunkadoo. He got his start building software for environmental data ten years ago in the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, founded a startup to build software for fieldwork five years ago, and spends countless hours working with field biologists to improve the software he builds to meet their needs.
Chairman and Site Coordinator
Carol, currently chairman of Dunkadoo, spent 20+ years building software for the auto industry, and thought she was retired when she signed on to do a small project for Russell’s startup business 4 years ago. During the peak of the field season, Carol is on the phone supporting our partner organizations from dawn to dusk 7 days a week. So much for the quiet life!
Back-End Development Consultant
Damon is resposible for the immediate and reliable synchronization between your tablet in the field and our cloud servers.
Historical Site Data Specialist
Joining our team as a volunteer in the summer of 2016, Genevieve built tools to help our partner organizations import their historical data into Dunkadoo. She is currently a PhD student at MIT.