Wiring the Sonoran Desert With Wireless

Cataloging all the organisms in the Sonoran Desert for National Geographic.

By on April 17, 2012

I guess you could say Verizon wired the Sonoran Desert with wireless – at least for 24 hours. That’s how long it took to count every living thing in Saguaro National Park for the 2011 BioBlitz near Tucson, Arizona.

More than 5,000 scientists, students, teachers and volunteers trekked there in October with notepads and smartphone cameras in hand.  Their goal?  To capture and send data including real-time, geo-tagged images to a National Geographic database platform called Field Scope.  Here’s a short video on the 2011 BioBlitz and how wireless technology helps support experiential learning.

With Earth Day coming up, it seemed like the perfect time to share some information about Verizon Wireless’ ongoing support of National Geographic on this fun, educational project.

We rolled in some extra wireless coverage where we could.  But some parts of the desert preserve are many hours’ hiking distance from the nearest road.  To cover those, we reoriented some distant cell sites to help retrieve the images sent by citizen scientists from the most remote reaches of the park.

The BioBlitz is a collaboration of National Geographic and the National Park Service.  It is happening every year leading to the 2016 centennial anniversary of the founding of the National Parks.

The Verizon Wireless team is hard at work, planning support for the BioBlitz 2012 slated for Rocky Mountain National Park near Denver in August.