Lapis first developed the mobile application ‘WhaleReport’ to enable submission of whale sighting reports, taking advantage of mobile device functionality such as camera and GPS.
The application is used across British Columbia by whale watching operators, lighthouse keepers, charter boat operators, tugboat captains, BC Ferries personnel, researchers, government employees, recreational boaters and coastal residents.
Reports can be captured in the field whether connected or not. The app was engineered to store any unsent reports and allow the reporter to submit them once they have connectivity, an important feature given the vast areas of their coastlines and the remote locations where sighting may occur.
The success of this app in increasing the number of sighting reports led to the development of the Whale Report Alert System (WRAS). The WRAS mobile app was developed to utilise the real-time whale location information received through the WhaleReport app to alert commercial vessel operators that are travelling the waters of British Columbia of whales in their vicinity. These alerts can then be used by skippers to take mitigation measures, such as slowing down or diverting course, to reduce the risk of collision and disturbance.