Squirrel Squad | Trace Invaders


Awards & Nominations

Squirrel Squad has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

Global Nominee

The Challenge | Trace Invaders

Develop a tool to trace invasive species in your neighborhood over time!

Squirrel squad tracker

The easy way to help track local invasive species

Squirrel Squad


“develop a tool, such as a crowdsourcing application, to gather information about invasive species in your neighbourhood.”

Get involved easily

We saw this as an opportunity to build something fun and interactive. A way to, raise awareness and get involved by contributing. However, this would only work if it was easy to do. Enabling people to get involved easily was absolutely key. Users needed to be able to achieve the following goals with the minimum investment on their part.

  • A. Get info on what invasive species are local to them
  • B. Log invasive species that they have found.

Location, location, location

We built an API that allowed users to easily to receive info on what invasive species were local to them. We then created two example methods that connected to this API:

1. A simple webapp which gets the geolocation from the browser (after asking for permission of course) then allows users to tap a button to search.

2. Twitter integration, which allows anyone to tweet a request to and receive a response. The geolocation is either extracted from the tagged location of the tweet or from the language in the tweet itself.

Try it!
1. Visit the web app at squirrelsquad.co
2. Tweet "@squirrelsquadco What should I look for near me?"

Spotting an Alien

Once the user is clued up on what to look out for the next goal is to get them submitting sightings. Again the API allows them to do this. And again we created our two examples.

Try it!

1. Visit the web app and 'report listing' squirrelsquad.co/sightings/create
2. Tweet "@squirrelsquadco I spotted a grey squirrel #invader"

In both cases the report is logged to our database. The reported sighting via Twitter even receives a thank you tweet response.

The future

  • Hook in other social networks to increase engagement and audience.
  • Potential to compare our captured data with other environmental data to investigate correlations in local land cover (habitat), water resources, and weather to changes in the biological community.
  • Tagging sightings with photos.
  • Warning systems for drastic changes

A note about data

Although there is a wealth of open source data available on invasive species we actually struggled to find it in an accessible format. Of results were plotted on maps or embedded in PDF documents. Therefore we we created an endpoint on out API to expose our captured data it to those who wish to use it.


We also put together a simple example of how this can be used at https://squirrelsquad.co/map

Our presentation


Our code


  • Laravel PHP Framework
  • Twitter API
  • Bootstrap HTML, CSS, and JS framework
  • Font Awesome
  • Coffee & Teamwork

SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.