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The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) handles Victoria’s fisheries resources and is constantly working with stakeholders to deliver outcomes pertaining to sustainable fishing, aquaculture, clear resource access, and increased economic, social and cultural value.
Building on their trusted community and stakeholders, VFA saw an opportunity to crowdsource data from ‘fishers’ (anglers) to help inform them of fish stocks and waterway health across Victoria’s waterways. By capturing catch data, scientific information would be yielded to help better understand the impact of environment events against catch rates for different fish breeds. The project would be a world-first.
VFA sought to create an Angler Diary that would be devised from mass crowdsourced data from an estimated 40-60k Victorian fishers. Contributors to this diary would be represented by a keen community of anglers who enthusiastically kept track of their own catches.
Expanding on this idea, Newpath Web established a technology stack and the app concept leveraging our innovation sprint program. Interactive prototypes and a beautiful interface design would be tested with the community prior to development. A phased product release process would allow us to continuously release new features to the user base. The interactions and experiences offered by each featured would be informed by user data and feedback.
With an enthusiastic community on hand, crowdsourcing data would be easy. However, the issue was ensuring the user experience was as seamless as possible to encourage usability. With approximately 40,000 members who would potentially be contributors, defining data structures was important from the get-go. Conceptually, gamification also needed to be built into the product roadmap.
Such complex ideas needed to be distilled, documented and prototyped within a User Experience Design process. Newpath Web’s design team worked closely with VFA’s project stakeholders throughout spirited Design Thinking studio workshops that produced amazing ideas: “What if we integrated BOM data with catch rates? We could scientifically analyse the impact of the moon and water levels on catch rates and fish stocks…” (heads explode)
Based on our initial designs of the mobile app prototype, we predicted that the first release of the mobile app would face some resistance. While the concept was appealing, the app wouldn’t be engaging enough for anglers to use. Luckily our innovation program had already highlighted a roadmap of features including community competitions, social interaction, and other gamification concepts.
We designed components that matched the product release roadmap that could be sequentially developed and released to the market.
The application was developed using React Native, a framework created by Facebook to facilitate smooth and easy cross-platform mobile development. This framework also negates the need to code separate apps for an iOS or Android platform — one codebase seamlessly develops apps for both platforms without compromising on the UX and UI experience.
Built on a robust open source database platform, we also integrated Business Intelligence software – Clicdata. This web-based BI tool allows our data analysts to rapidly generate data insights – all delivered via an elegant dashboard.
To ensure a smooth transition into the market, Newpath Web also released a communications plan and helped produce digital product assets like videos that described the app and its value to Victorian anglers. This commercialisation of the digital product through branding, social media presence and a formal communications plan helped VFA launch into the market.
Launched on-time and on-budget in early 2019 to the 60,000 strong angling community, our roadmap would see us design and develop new features on a continuous basis.
Version 1.1 of the app included the gamification features for angler clubs and social interactions. A clear boost in engagement and usage was seen with the release of each additional feature.
VFA’s data scientists are now actively using angler data yielded from the app to inform waterway health reports and fish stock levels for Victoria’s many rivers, lakes and open waterways.
There are over 300 angling clubs in Victoria and more than 800,000 individual recreational fishers; every one of them has a fishing story to tell. In essence, this represents a massive amount of untapped information that can be used to maintain healthy fisheries and create even better recreational fishing opportunities. GoFishVic is the answer to capturing that data, leading to a better fishing future for anglers across Victoria.This app is the digital reinvention of how recreational fishers can record their fishing successes and improve their future results, while at the same time, helping the Victorian Fisheries Authority gather robust and invaluable data to track the performance of our most important fisheries and ensure their health and stock for us today and future generations.
Users can improve their fishing success by recording their experiences, reviewing their catch history, and analyze visual graphs of their fishing results by the trip, by species, by location, and more. You decide how to filter the information, so you can see at a glance where the best fisheries are, what gear and bait works best, where record numbers of species are, and what seasonal conditions are best to catch them. GoFishVic is a free and easy-to-use app for anglers to record their fishing trips and help ensure the health and management of our fisheries.
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