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An app offers guided routes of the Pyrenean water ecosystems

CSIC and CREAF scientists who are working together at two labs, the Limnological Observatory of the Pyrinees (LOOP) and the Movement Ecology Laboratory (MoveLab), have developed a new app. It is called “Eth Holet” and offers guided nature walks in the Vall d’Aran using the GPS.

Screen of the app Eth Holet on a smart phone. Image: CEAB-CSICThe app ‘Eth Holet’ has been developed for the Council of Vielha e Mijaran, within the European project Sud’eau2. The app is aimed at improving education and environmental awareness, as well as to actively encourage the involvement of citizens in subjects related to water and environment preservation. The app has been named after the Aranese mitological character Eth Holet, a goblin who lives in the forest and represents the spirit of Nature.


Knowledge transfer

The app compiles the scientific information collected by the scientists at the LOOP (Limnological Observatory of the Pyrinees) laboratory along the years of work. The LOOP laboratory is at the Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB) of the CSIC, but the scientists working there are both from the CSIC and from the CREAF, the latter a centre of research in ecology.

The team has jointly developed the app with the Movement Ecology Lab (MoveLab), a joint lab of the CEAB and the CREAF. The project has been coordinated by Lluis Camarero, a CSIC scientists at the CEAB.

Using GPS, the app guides the visitors throughout several nature routes (six, at the moment), which cover the alpine lakes, ponds and rivers in the Vall d’Aran. The app indicates the most interesting spots and offers information about the water ecosystems, the plants and animal species which can be found there. The app incluides a Species guide. It also offers information about the climatic and environmental change in water ecosystems, as well as the human influence - reflected in constructions such as water mills, hydroelectric power stations or bridges.

One of the most interesting routes is the one that goes to the high mountain lake Estahn Redon. This lake has been studied for decades and nearby there is a small field laboratory and a meteorological station. Scientific works have shown that the Redon is a ‘sentinel’ lake that reveals the past and present global environmental changes, like atmospheric pollution or climatic change.

‘Eth Holet’ is, also, an interactive application which allows the users to keep track and save their own routes, as well as saving pictures, videos and map annotations. In this way, the involvement of citizens in environment discovery is promoted.  Android version of ‘Eth Holet’ is available in three languages (Aranes, Catalan and Spanish).  Very soon a iOS version will be available. There is also a HTML5  version in the suport web holet.org.