Virtual Meetup Discussion: Low-cost, Open-source Solutions

Hi everyone, 

We are very much looking forward to speaking to you all in tomorrow's virtual meetup! It's going to be all about low-cost, open source solutions - as usual we'll hear from our three speakers, @Alasdair  @davidtlang  and @IBEIS  ,  who will set the scene and then we'll open up the floor for some open discussion to dig into the topic at hand. Remember, you can still register here!

Now, ahead of tomorrow's discussion, we thought it might be helpful to flag some of the questions/topics we think will come up in this second part. As part of the registration process, we ask you to tell us the one question you are hoping to have answered in the session. This has turned out to be a wonderful way of getting a feel for the current group think about the topic at hand. The questions coming in seem to fall together into a couple of big buckets.

We think this is a fantastic resource that should be shared back to you - maybe it can trigger discussions/work beyond the boundaries of the virtual meetups? And hopefully sharing these big qeustions we are hearing from you ahead of time might help get you thinking and provide a landing point for discussion to continue after the meetup. 

The big questions we're seeing: 

Sustainability, business models, mobilising community

  • Sustainable Business models (India)
  • I’m developing open source, low cost drones for conservation. How to do financially sustain the development of open source projects, and build a community around them. (Spain)
  • Would both designers and customers both be interested in having a UK producer holding stocks of open source designs? (UK)
  • What models can open source innovators rely on to spread their products and reach users? (UK)
  • How these low-cost tools achieve scale and/or are funded (USA)
  • Open source business models and community building. (USA)
  • How can we rally the open-source community around camera trap work? (USA)
  • How do groups using open-source make reproduction of their products feasible for others? (USA)
  • Interested in different models for making innovative tech widely available and sustainable (UK)

This discussion might be of interest: Sustainability of Open Source Projects


  • Options for collaborative frameworks to support the roll-out of new biodiversity surveillance and monitoring technologies. (UK)
  • How do you suggest finding collaborators who have the time and resources to help early-career researchers use open-source tech? (Switzerland)
  • How can greater and transparent collaboration across org's develop and deploy more low-cost/open-source solutions? (UK)

Cost vs Quality

  • How to balance low cost and high quality (India)
  • QA in open source solutions? (UK)


  • How addressing the issue of interoperability of data on multiple technological platform? (Phillipines)
  • I would like know how projects are using several technologies (Peru)
  • Cost effectiveness and possible integration viability into COFDM solutions (South Africa)
  • How do we share data across these platforms? (USA)

Capacity + Skills

  • Lots of questions that were just about finding out what’s out there (Eg: What are some low-cost, open-source solutions that I don't know about?
  • We need to move better and faster at real time data decision making to respond to the scale of our threats. Barriers of adoption of such tech, can we come up with a clever way to increase capacity on the ground? (travelling mentors?) (Romania)
  • Should we have a role in any organisation or should this highly important issue be part of a more cultural teams orientation (Romania)
  • We run workshops/help develop solutions for communities to solve problems with tech. We are interested in doing more in conservation (UK)
  • What level of technical skill is required? (UK)
  • Capacity building needs and resources (USA)
  • A clear detailed method of application and accuracy rate... Where and how to use the technology (Zimbabwe)

This discussion might be of interest: Are you working on an open source project? Tell us about it + link to your github repository

How to get involved

  • I am interested in the topic and to get more hands-on, integrated into such projects. How people put these projects together (Sweden)
  • To learn more about the topic and start my own projects (Singapore)
  • Need to design and build own novel field equipment. Who to partner with to construct new designs? (USA)

Big Picture

  • What does success look like? (UK)
  • What are metrics of success and have they been met? (USA)
  • What are the barriers from having an open source conservation technology toolkit? (USA)

Lots of meaty questions in there! It should be a really fun discussion, I hope you'll join us. 


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