Broadcaster and journalist Jonathan Dimbleby has launched an innovative new smartphone app that enables people to capture and comment upon landscapes in and around the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Rate my View has been developed by the South Devon AONB in partnership with Plymouth University as part of the Cordiale project. It is designed to gather pictures and feedback from people as they photograph the protected landcape.
Mr Dimbleby, who is the patron of the South Devon AONB, officially launched the app at the South Devon AONB annual open forum commenting “Rate my view is incredibly simple to use with your smart phone or tablet. It encourages you to say what is important about the view and what it is that captures the imagination. It also gives you the chance to make positive or negative comments about the landscape. I’m delighted to launch it.”
Roger English, Project Officer at South Devon AONB, said: “The app’s simple nature enables a participative approach to collecting, sharing and understanding a range of public perceptions of local landscapes in and around the South Devon AONB. We’re hoping that over time it will enable us to build up a picture of how the AONB is perceived. “
The South Devon AONB is one of 46 AONBs in the country, and stretches from Brixham to Wembury, and includes towns such as Kingsbridge, Dartmouth, Salcombe and Modbury in addition to the spectacular coastline, estuaries and farmed countryside.
The website can be viewed at http://www.ratemyview.co.uk.
The App can be downloaded from:
The app, which is free, and available on both Apple and Android platforms, automatically uploads pictures taken on smartphones or tablets to the Rate my View website. It uses GPS technology to pinpoint the users location and make sure they are in or near the AONB area, even detecting the direction the person is facing.
Users then rate their view by giving it between 0 and 5 stars; and submit words or short phrases that sum up their view. This could include landscape features “network of Devon hedgebanks”, qualities “tranquil”, feelings “inspiring”, events “battered by waves” and much more.
Dr John Martin, of the University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: “The app helps to burrow into public perceptions, finding out what people really think about the area’s coast, estuaries, countryside and villages. Over time, with the changing of the seasons, and as change takes take effect it will enable us to better understand how we view our landscapes and discover what we particularly value.”
Dr Martin said that other AONBs had expressed an interest in the technology, as well as Scottish Natural Heritage and two Regional Natural Parks in France, an equivalent protected landscape designation, who have been working on projects with the South Devon AONB team.