2016 [app] design awards

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Dorsal Shark Reports [DRAFT]






Project Overview

Dorsal Shark Reports is the world’s first 360 degree shark sighting and reporting solution.

Responding to the recent spate of shark attacks in Australia, many of which involved shark sightings from the previous day, Dorsal was born as a centralized portal to keep beach-goers safe. With over 80 public sources, combined with individually verified user reports from social media, our website and the app, Dorsal Shark Reports provides the most comprehensive shark alert system in Australia today.


Fruitful Technologies


Allan Bennetto (Founder)
Huong Do (iOS Team Leader)
Dai Dinh (iOS Developer)
Hieu Truong (Android Team Leader)
Tu Nguyen (Android Developer)
Luong Le (Android Developer)
Dat Nguyen Trong (Frontend Team Leader)
Tuan Ha Anh (Backend Developer)
Thu Vu (QA Leader)
Phong Vu (Tester)
Dat Nguyen Tat (Designer Team Leader)
Chi Nguyen (Designer)
Le Phan (Delivery Manager)
Thanh Tran (Project Manager & Support)
Ernest Ramos (Social Media Manager)

Project Brief

Dorsal Shark Reports is Australia’s largest and only scalable shark reporting system. It combines official sources and public submissions of shark sightings to alert the beach going public of potential sharks in the area through immediate notifications.

Dorsal was conceptualized during a wave of shark attacks around Northern NSW in 2014/15. In many of these cases, people had seen a shark in the area but had no way to alert anyone. There was no central portal for anyone to access the latest sightings either.

However, it was the death of a Tasmanian diver in front of his daughter by a 4.5m White Shark in July last year that sparked things into action.

Dorsal combines data from over 80 sources online as well as from the public making it the widest ranging shark notification in the country. Each report is independently verified before they are posted with information that includes the time, location and type of sighting, any photos or video as well as general details of the incident and basic shark information such as species and size.

Since launching in November 2015, Dorsal has provided over of 1,000 shark sightings from around Australia to over 200,000 users across to its Android and iPhone Apps, its website and the various Dorsal social media accounts. Its apps have a 5 star rating and have been credited by its users as potentially saving lives through its early warning system.

Project Need

Current shark management solutions are archaic and rely on unproven technologies and/or archaic solutions. In addition, they are very much localized, with no central, dedicated shark alert system available in Australia.

Dorsal is the first shark alert system to combine shark spotting information from various sources and leverage the power of social media and mobile to bring this important information to the public in real-time in a centralized, easily accessible portal. It combines various technologies into one life-saving app.

The Dorsal team isn’t standing still either.

Dorsal is about to release a new GPS Alert app for pilots and aerial surveillance operators to provide immediate sightings at the click of a button. It is also working with private sonar providers as well as a commercial drone operator to provide unmanned sightings direct to the public.

For those who don’t have a smartphone or web access, a new 1800 phone and SMS alert service will be available and finally, Dorsal is currently working on a world-first in water wearable that will keep those in the water informed of sightings near them.

While not the silver bullet to preventing shark attacks, Dorsal plays a highly valued role in keeping the public informed of sightings around them, to ensure they can enter the water with as much information as possible and ultimately reduce their risk.

User Experience

Dorsal broadcasts all of its reports to the public via its website, social media pages and most importantly its apps. The reports all go out at the same time, ensuring no matter the users medium or preference, they are alerted in the fastest possibly way.

The main interface of the Dorsal app is our Shark Alerts List/Map. Each verified shark report is tagged as an official/unofficial source and placed in the map based with the shark’s location.

Users can view shark reports according to the time the report was posted, their current location through the app’s GPS or through locations the user previously favourited.

A typical Dorsal shark alert includes the time and day of the sighting, videos or photos where available and general details of the incident such as the shark’s approximate size and species.

Users can also send in their own shark sightings through the app, our website and social network channels. Users can include their own photos and videos in their reports. To make reporting easier and more accurate, the Dorsal App also uses GPS-tagging.

Overall, the Dorsal system is straightforward – It displays the relevant information to make it easy to understand at a glance and provides as much detail should the user want it. Through its in-depth customization, it also allows the user to ‘set and forget’, only to be notified if there is a sighting near them or their favourite beach.

Project Marketing

Dorsal relies heavily on word of mouth and social networks to engage users and spread the word. Our reports are very sticky, allowing people to tag and share the reports amongst friends to keep them informed of the dangers and it ha thus grown into a value community service amongst our users. Since our launch in November 2015, we now serve over 200,000 users across our apps and social media, making us one of the largest network in the world for shark spotting and alerts.

In addition to social media, we have a long list of partners we work with to push the Dorsal reports and the Dorsal brand. These partnerships include other shark spotting sites, research bodies and technology collaborations and allow us to push forward on becoming the go to resource for shark sightings and warnings around the globe.

For 2016, we will continue social media and partnership program as well lock in some high profile ambassadors to further validate the solution while also launching in the USA, Hawaii and South Africa . In addition, we are also talking to some high profile ambassadors to get the Dorsal message out there.

Project Privacy

From the beginning we chose Spring as Backend Framework and kept Spring Security on top of System. Every user info such as email or mobile are carefully managed using custom Authorisation Module so only authorised people can access the data.

For the database, the system is backed up daily with all data stored via Amazon Cloud to minimise data loss.

Exactly as it states - we're looking for the best startup projects. Startup projects need to be newly emerging, less than 5 million users and less than 3 years old.
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