The use of mobile technology to enhance plant health monitoring and awareness in Scotland
Plant health is a very complex and diverse field. It covers four sectors (agriculture, horticulture, forestry and environment) and numerous hosts, pests and pathogens. Two examples of mobile software applications currently in use in the UK reflect this diversity, one being a comprehensive website based tool to monitor pest and disease threats in the forestry sector (TreeAlert) the other a smartphone app developed in response to a very specific threat (Asian Hornet Watch). These tools are interactive and are supported in terms of maintenance, data curation and if necessary – appropriate action is taken.
The underpinning information and technology are available to develop new tools, either to support other plant health sectors or in direct response to specific new threats if required in the future. The larger the coverage in terms of hosts and threats, the larger the commitment in terms of resources to ensure that the usability, sustainability and value of the system is secured.