Facilitating community adoption of digital resources – FeralScan


Digital mobile technology can greatly enhance biosecurity and the productivity of agricultural systems to maximise industry, community and environment benefits for landholders and the community. This project will facilitate community adoption of digital technologies including PestSmart and FeralScan community pest monitoring technology (with mobile Apps), and enhance this with community networking resources to ensure community and landholder needs remain front and centre of our organisation’s business. The project will focus on

  1. developing new tools for invasive species detection and reporting,
  2. promoting monitoring of invasive species,
  3. promoting community access to pest control technologies, resources, services and support that are tailored specifically to an individual’s needs,
  4. connecting people and communities,
  5. sharing data with pest management stakeholders
  6. and empowering people to make informed decisions about pest management. 

In progress


  1. Develop Web- and App-based pest surveillance, detection, and Alert Systems for farmers and regional management organisations, including the highly successful FeralScan community pest mapping resource, new incursion detection and response services, biocontrol tracking, and citizen science programs.  
  2. Deliver training to farmers, landholder associations, community-groups, local government and regional stakeholders using digital technologies and services – tailored to the needs of individuals. 
  3. Promote community access to and adoption of pest control resources including the latest pest control technologies, advice and extension services, as well as connect people to support services, pest control professionals, regional organisations and local community organisations. 
  4. Develop data management services for invasive species information sharing across all states/territories of Australia, enabling a client-focused system for data access and real-time data sharing of invasive species data (including citizen science data). 
  5. Promote access to pest control resource toolkits (including online services) by farmers, community groups, local government organisations, landholder groups, regional NRM bodies, and pest management agencies.  
  6. Build enduring local, regional, government, business and community partnerships to promote collaborative and coordinated involvement in invasive species management and RD&E. 

Project Leader

Peter West
Project Team
  • Peter West, NSW Department of Primary Industries.  
  • Dr Peter Fleming, Research Leader – Predator and prey management, NSW Department of Primary Industries.  
  • Dr Ian McDonald, Communications Manager, Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
Project Partners
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI)
  • Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

This project receives funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment


February 2021 update:

FeralScan has reached 28,340 total users and 541 registered user groups and 24,480 photographs of pest animals (10,498 new photos since February 2020), With the impact of COVID-19 the project has proceeded to engage with community and biosecurity groups using video conference, teleconferencing and face-to-face events, wherever practical, safe and feasible The platform has also added Wild Dog Alert Notifications, a New Pests platform and, an Other Pests platform for large herbivores.

August 2020 update:

The FeralScan community mapping program now has over 25,000 online users, of which 19,176 are registered. The resource now hosts more than 213,000 records of pest animals, pest problems and control actions coordinated by landholders and community groups Australia-wide (Table 1).

In the 2019/20 financial year pest animal records nearly doubled in a single 12-month period.

The number of community groups now set up within the system who can share information with each other to ensure they make the best strategic management advice for their region and area. There are now 449 groups across Australia set up to do this, which combine farmers, land managers and government staff.

February 2020 update:

Adoption of FeralScan has reached new milestones, with the number of users doubling since July 2017 to a total of 23,818 users. A preliminary survey of user groups has produced summary data on usage behaviour and recommendations for future upgrades of FeralScan. Upgrades have been made to FeralScan software including:

  • WildDogScan App and website to address evolving user needs;
  • Rabbit Biocontrol Tracker App and website upgrades to support community collection of rabbit virus samples;
  • Improvements to the FeralScan Dashboard, Maps and Report Cards;
  • DeerScan upgrade, full promotion of DeerScan will commence in the next phase of the project; and
  • A new incursions reporting platform has been completed, and will be tested and evaluated in NSW during 2020.

August 2019 update:

The FeralScan web and App-based community pest surveillance platform has been successfully adopted by community user groups and government biosecurity stakeholders. Stakeholder assistance includes monitoring pest species, developing detailed knowledge of local pest problems, promoting community participation in monitoring and management activities, receiving regular updates on incidents and track changes in pest activity reporting over time.

Training and promotion of PestSmart and its resources was delivered nationally, including staff training for King Island, Kangaroo Island, Flinders Island, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island. Training was delivered through field days, workshops, pest management conferences, face-to-face landholder meetings and video and teleconferencing.

Software updates now allow the use of FeralScan on remote islands. A prototype dashboard enables charts and tables to be developed as an interactive co-created service for stakeholders. A prototype of a new incursions reporting platform will be tested in NSW for Red-eared slider turtles and American corn snakes, to promote public reporting of these animals. FeralScan adoption rates have continued to increase, including user registrations, pest records and new groups.

February 2019 update: 

FeralScan is successfully supporting adoption of its web and App-based community pest surveillance platform. including usage of enhanced alert notification services and online closed-group functionality, by community user groups, regional biosecurity groups and government biosecurity stakeholders across NSW, SA, Vic, WA and Qld.  

FeralScan has achieved significant milestones over 2018, including: 

  • 20,500 users of FeralScan, (comprising 15,500 total registered users plus 4,950 non-registered users) – including 3,787 NEW registered users since July 2017. 
  • 109,700 total FeralScan records of pest animal species, and 10-15K images – 43,000 new pest animal records since project commencement in July 2017. 
  • 308 user groups registered as ‘closed private groups’ within FeralScan (total private registered user groups) plus 30-50 additional groups using FeralScan as registered individuals. 
  • Communication of 2,500 Wild Dog Alert notification emails to landholder groups, wild dog control associations, Biosecurity agencies and stakeholders. 

In 2018, the DeerScan community feral deer reporting website and app became available via www.deerscan.org.au 

A national CarpMap website and Questionnaire survey was also designed and deployed in partnership with CSIRO and Fisheries Research and development Corporation (FRDC). This was launched and is available from www.carpmap.org.au. Results include completion of the Survey by 600 members of the public.  

Video Assets:

Scientific publications:

  • Arkel, A., Kelman, M., West, P., Ward M. (2019) The relationship between reported domestic canine parvovirus cases and wild canid distribution. Heliyon, e02511 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02511 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02511

News items:

17/03/20 – https://invasives.com.au/news-events/community-roll-feralscan-workshops-across-nsw/

19/02/20 – https://invasives.com.au/news-events/new-feralscan-community-workshops-training-nsw/

17/10/19 – https://invasives.com.au/news-events/community-led-deer-monitoring-via-deerscan/

Facilitating community adoption of digital resources (FeralScan)