Know your jellies – keep safe with The Jellyfish App
A Tasmanian based trio have created a simple way to be an expert in jellyfish identification.
Jellyfish identification is both fascinating and an important lifesaving skill. A Tasmanian based trio have created a simple way to put that expertise in your hands.
A chance meeting between Launceston businessmen and fishing partners Neil Johnson and Ian Goninon, and Hobart-based jellyfish expert Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, led to a simple yet clever idea to help anyone identify jellyfish and treat their stings.
Seated together on board a flight, the trio’s shared passion for the water was soon evident. Before long the casual conversation turned to fascination with Dr Gershwin’s jellyfish expertise, particularly in relation to location and first aid.
“It was a long flight but the more I found out about Lisa-Ann’s research the more I thought we need to turn this into an app that we can share with the world,” Mr Johnson said.
By the end of the flight the new partners had agreed to form Jellyfish App Pty Ltd. And just 14 months later with funding from Neil and Ian, and the jellyfish information from Lisa-Ann, their idea had become a reality.
Launched in January 2017 and delivered by Launceston firm Walker Designs, the GPS-based jellyfish app is a world first.
It lists 280 species of jellyfish worldwide, and an identification guide and information on sting treatments. Using location based information and pictorial guides, the app can turn anyone with a Smartphone into an instant jellyfish expert.
Already the app is exceeding all expectations. In the first six weeks it was downloaded over 4 000 times by users in 49 countries. And the list continues to grow.
While the app was designed and built locally by Tasmanians, its reach and lifesaving implications are global. Furthermore, once the costs of development are recouped, the trio are planning to redirect revenue towards marine biology scholarships.
The paid version of the app allows users to “Ask Lisa” and to send a photo of a jellyfish directly to Dr Gershwin for information and advice. These inquiries are also enabling Dr Gershwin to add to the already extensive jellyfish listings in the app.
The team hopes the app will help the broader community, including tourists, surfers, educators, the fishing industry, researchers, and recreational fishers. Already they are working to expand it, with French and Chinese language versions in development and ongoing updates.