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King County Fights Noxious Weeds with Crowdsourcing

Concerned with the growing economic and environmental damage caused by noxious weeds, King County officials are empowering their residents to help fight these invasive species using a new mobile app, King County Connect.

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Newsworthy
Microsoft and Slalom help King County develop new app to make it easier to report noxious weeds – GeekWire
King County residents concerned about noxious weeds have a new gardening tool to turn to when it comes to eliminating invasive species — a mobile app that makes it easier to identify and report the precise location of such plants. With technical assistance from Microsoft and Slalom Consulting, the…
GeekWire
Report Noxious Weeds To King County With New App
Once a weed is reported through the app, a team of specialists will be deployed to whack the weed in question.
MSN
Valley News - App helps track noxious weeds
REDMOND, Wash. — The small, white flower clusters can reach up to 10 feet and, to the unaware landscaper, would look pretty in a garden. Its leaves are bright green and the root looks like a carrot or parsnip. But the plant is also an invader...
Valley News
Highlights
  • A new mobile app called King County Connect aims to make the process easier for residents who want to report noxious weeds to specialists.
  • Users can search a library of known noxious weeds, including photos, descriptions, impacts, and procedures to remove the weed.
  • The County has a staff member from its noxious weed program available to answer questions, who can be reached through the app.
  • Additionally, users can register for status updates in the app if they would like to be informed of the County’s actions.
  • The project arose from an idea a King County team brought to a hackathon sponsored by Microsoft in partnership with Slalom.
Project Summary
Concerned with the growing economic and environmental damage caused by noxious weeds, King County officials are empowering their residents to help fight these invasive species using a new mobile app, King County Connect.
The new application replaces a reporting process in which the public was previously required to take a photo of a suspected noxious weed, attempt to match it through their own image search, submit a report on the County's website and then estimate the general location of the suspected weed.
Now, a user can take a photograph of the plant and submit the photo directly to the county with an automatic date and location (via GPS coordinates). The user can also opt in to receive status updates on the county's response to the reported tip.
This information goes directly to the noxious weeds program for verification and appropriate follow up, depending on the weed category.
The location will be automatically uploaded to the noxious weed program’s map, allowing the specialists to identify large spreads of weeds and areas where they might be particularly harmful.
For weeds that are regulated, a noxious weed specialist will visit the location and notify the appropriate agency or property owner to make sure the weeds are controlled. For weeds that aren’t regulated, the data will be shared with agencies or partners working on invasive weed control in the area.
The idea for the application originated from a hack-a-thon among King County IT employees and representatives from Microsoft and Slalom, a Seattle consulting company.
While many local governments have smartphone apps for residents, this noxious-weed app is unique in letting users connect with experts directly.
The app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
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