• Jere A. Boudell, Ph.D.

    Mobile computing in the sciences

  • democratizing mobile computing

    Personal mobile computing is a revolution similar in magnitude to the advent of the personal computer. Rather than programming our PCs for use in our homes and offices, now we can program the powerful computers we take with us everywhere...our mobile devices. This calls for new and exciting approaches for how we view our mobile devices such as our smart phones. Hal Abelson in collaboration with Google developed App Inventor, a blocks based programming language that dramatically decreases the learning curve for programming. App Inventor is now an ongoing fully supported project under the direction of Hal Abelson at the MIT Center for Mobile Computing.


    MIT App Inventor and personal mobile computing is a powerful combination that opens new areas for exploration in science, and promises to improve STEM education and outreach.


    The apps available below are examples of the versatility of personal mobile computing and its use in research, education, and outreach. In addition to creating apps, I also teach app creation using MIT App Inventor through workshops and hackathons.




    Read more about ecology app development in:

    September 2016 PLOS Ecology Blog "Augmenting the Reality of Ecology Education."

    August 2015 issue of Forestry Suppliers' Science Scene.


    For a list of apps developed for field biologists, visit the Bruna Lab page.

    For a list of apps to help you live a green life, visit Greenapps.

  • in the field

    Mobile devices challenge us to imagine how we could use such devices in the field and laboratory.

  • Examples of field apps

    Download to mobile device

    Plant Data

    The Plant Data App was created to assist biologists in the field with plant species data collection and storage. The app stores the study area name, GPS coordinates, date, site and plot numbers, and species name and variable data. Users enter their own variable such as "cover" or "density." Multiple plants can be associated with a single study plot. The data are saved as a CSV file on the user’s mobile device and can also be saved externally. Users can add to previously created files. The Plant Data app can search the USDA PLANTS database to aid with plant identification in the field. Please review the ReadMe file below for more information.

    Download Plant Data



    Read the "Plant Data Collector: a field biologist's personal assistant" MIT App Inventor blog post

    Species Area

    The Species Area App was created to assist biologists in the field with sample size assessment. The app calculation is based on the concept of a species area curve which can be used to determine the minimum sample size needed to maximize the number of species collected while minimizing time spent in the field. Instead of creating a curve, or determining the rate of change, the app calculates the percent change in total species number surveyed as sample size increases. The user selects a percent change threshold and the minimum number of hits for this threshold. When these values have been reached, the user’s criteria and sample size are displayed.


    Download Species Area


    Beginner AI2 Source Code

    Intermediate/Advanced AI2 Source Code


    ReadMe file

    Field Help Speed Dial

    The Field Help speed dial app was created to assist biologists in the field when help is needed. The app allows the user to quickly select and call the appropriate person/organization when urgent assistance is required (e.g., ranger, preserve manager, public safety). Users input contact information during setup. A hard reset option allows users to change the contact information when needed.


    Download Field Help Speed Dial


    AI2 Source Code


    ReadMe file

    Test Meow Animal Behavior

    The retro Test Meow app was created to allow users to easily determine if their cats respond to music created for cats by David Teie and is based on the research of David Teie and Dr. Charles Snowdon. The app was developed to encourage the exploration of research results through play and as a demonstration of personal mobile computing using MIT App Inventor.


    Download to phone via Google Play

  • Mobile Computing in STEM outreach & Education

  • Educators and those working in outreach can use MIT App Inventor to create their own apps. Using code and tutorials provided by others allows those new to MIT App Inventor to rapidly learn to build their own apps to meet their own goals and reach their own audience.


    Educators can move beyond building their own apps to introducing app creation to their students as a means to engage students and increase problem solving skills. For example, biology students often see computer science as irrelevant to their major. But, some knowledge of computer science allows biologists to interact with commonly used software such a modeling and statistical analysis programs, encourages students to become creators of relevant technology, and introduces computational thinking. App creation engages students in problem based learning using their own cell phones. Learning the basics of computer science through app creation using MIT App Inventor makes these goals achievable for all students and is fun.



    Arboretum Interactive Tour

    The Arboretum Interactive Tour App was created to allow visitors of the Clayton State University Arboretum to learn about Piedmont plants and ecology using an interactive multimedia app and NFC tags. When the user taps an NFC tag associated with a specimen plant, a variety of options become available. The user can select to view more information about the plant via the USDA plants website, take a picture and share via social media, or take a quiz about the plant. Additionally, users can listen to audio files about Piedmont ecology and selected plant specimens.


    To view a demonstration of this app, you will need to program a NFC tag to read "POAC4" and then scan the tag.


    Download Arboretum Interactive Tour 


    ReadMe file

    Women of Science Collector Cards

    The Women of Science Collector Cards app contains cards about a variety of women scientists who explored, discovered, and created. The app code is simple and easily modifiable so that you can create your own set of cards about whatever topic interests you.


    Download Women of Science Cards 


    AI2 Source Code 

    Goose Density App for Campus Research

    The Goose Density app was developed for use in the ecology lab classroom. Students follow a guided tutorial to build their own Goose Density app and then use the app to collect goose density and location data as part of a campus research project. Students are able to visualize the data both within the app using Google maps and externally using the iSENSE data visualization platform.


    View data visualizations

    Student App Dev in Ecology

    Ecology students learn basic app development and in teams create original apps for use in ecology research, outreach, and education using MIT App Inventor. At the end of the semester, teams pitch their apps to the class and a panel of judges. Student teams have developed environmental education games, statistical analysis apps, and educational apps that enable users to learn, for example, animal vocalizations and local plants. See the gallery below for examples of student work.

  • Eco hackathons & Workshops

    Enabling scientists, academics, and students to become innovators

    Eco Hackathons

    "Hackathons" are powerful one-time events that pique interest in app creation



    2019 MIT App Inventor Summit via Expedition_Hack:, Cambridge, MA


    2017 Ecological Society of America Conference, Portland, OR


    2016 Ecological Society of America Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL


    2016 MIT App Inventor Summit via Expedition_Hack:, Cambridge, MA


    2016 Spring Fling Eco Hackathon, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA


    2015 Ecological Society of America Conference, Baltimore, MD


    2015 Earth Day Eco Hackathon, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA


    2013 Earth Day Eco Hackathon, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA


    2018 Society of Wetland Scientists Conference, Denver, CO


    2017 Fall Workshop, Clayton State University, Morrow GA


    2017 Ecological Society of America Conference, Portland, OR


    2017 ACM SIGCSE Using AppVis to build data-rich apps with MIT App Inventor, Seattle, WA


    2016 Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia Outdoor Learning Symposium, Atlanta, GA


    2016 Ecological Society of America Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL


    2015 Ecological Society of America Conference, Baltimore, MD


    2015 Spring Workshop, Center for Instructional Development, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA


    2014 Birla College, Kalyan, India


    2014 Ecological Society of America Conference, Sacramento, CA

    Monday  Wednesday


    2014 Workshop Series, Center for Instructional Development, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA


    2013 Center for Instructional Development, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA

  • WHO I AM

    Jere A. Boudell, Ph.D.

    Riparian Ecologist & Technologist

    As an ecologist and technologist, I'm interested in bridging the gap between the world of technology and ecology through mobile app development. To this end I develop a variety of Android apps for use in ecology, outreach, and education, teach app development workshops, and run Eco Hackathons.


    Follow @apps4ecology


    My Academic Site

    I'm the co-founder of Expedition_Hack: 

    We are a team of scientists, technologists, and educators whose mission is to bridge the gap between the worlds of technology and the sciences through app development workshops and hackathons.

  • Let's connect