Sitka Technology Group

Survey of Conservation Practitioners

To deliver great software that squarely meets the needs of our clients, we continuously work to understand their needs. In March 2013, we commissioned a survey of conservation practitioners focused on their current data management tools, and what they'd like to see in the future. Part of the survey was aimed at specifically understanding interest in mobile-enabled tools.

Sitka's Matt Deniston and Brian Knowles worked with a group of clients that share a common interest in supporting the greater conservation community - Portland Metro, Ecotrust, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Clean Water Services, and others - to create and distribute an online survey. Our shared goal: To increase the institutional capacity and resiliency of conservation and restoration organizations. 

We were thrilled to have 204 survey respondents from 141 organizations, ranging from land trusts (50), environmental NGOs (32), watershed councils (31), federal government (29), state government (18), tribes (14), and other (30).

On average, respondents have worked 8.17 years at their current organization. The median response was 5.5 years. Forty percent of respondents stated that their primary area of professional expertise is natural resource management. The second most popular response was biology or ecology, with 30% of respondents selecting this as their primary area of expertise. Other choices receiving at least 5% of total response included project management (9.3%), policy/decision-making/planning (7.3%) and management (5.9%). 

The size of the organizations for which respondents work varied greatly. Over half of respondents (56.5%) currently work for organizations employing only 1-10 individuals. Another 21% work for organizations employing more than 100 individuals. 


Key Findings 

  • 93.6% of the 204 respondents interact with project/activity data either “often or “very often.”
  • Most respondents are using general-purpose tools: 93.7% use MS Excel, 79.2% use ESRI products, 39.8% useGoogle-based products, and 38.9% use MS Access.
  • Only 27.8% reported these existing tools meet their needs “very” or “extremely well”
  • 93% said data management is “very” or “extremely important” in realizing long-term conservation goals.
  • Over 50% have experiences with data loss. The primary cause of this loss of data is “misplaced or poorly organized information.”
  • “Tracking” & “mapping” are the feature clusters most often mentioned as limiting job effectiveness.


Nitty Gritty
To read more about this survey and view analysis of results, see:

Interested in the raw data? Let us know.