Getting Started on Restor: Videos

Restor Help Forum

How to access and use Restor's help forum for support using the platform.

Watch the video in other languages: en español, em português, en français.

Providing Site Data for Multiple Sites

How to batch import data for your site profiles. We recommend this if you manage many sites.

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Creating and Publishing Site Profiles

How to create sites and prepare them for publishing, and what this actually means.

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Organizing Sites in Teams and Collections

How to manage your sites and collections and organize your teams.

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General Questions

What kinds of projects does Restor support?

Restor best supports projects working on sustainable land use, ranging from conservation to agroforestry, sustainable forest management, regenerative agriculture, and natural regeneration, but we invite all kinds of land-use projects to benefit from the knowledge in Restor and improve their impact on ecosystems. We currently have 12 intervention type categories to choose from when you save a project. While we welcome marine restoration projects, the data in Restor is not yet tailored to that context.

What countries are included?

Our data has global coverage and people from all countries are welcome on the platform.

Does Restor cost anything?

Restor is for free! We’ve been able to build our platform through the generous donations of philanthropists and the goal is to share our science as widely as possible. We may charge a fee for specific additional features or services in the future - but the general Restor features will always be freely available for everyone.

Who is Restor for?

Restor is for you! Restor is for everyone engaged with or interested in the ecological restoration movement, from the people and organizations implementing restoration and conservation projects to the people and organizations investing in those projects with their time, knowledge, or financial resources, to everyday people who want to learn more about restoration and engage in the restoration movement.

How do I access Restor?

The Restor platform is currently available by sign up only. You can sign up to access the beta version of the platform here. Since Restor is a brand new platform that involves a lot of novel code and data layers, we are still working out some of the kinks as we see how the platform performs under real world conditions. We are carefully monitoring the platform’s performance as more users come on board and making the necessary adjustments to ensure Restor can provide an excellent experience to everyone in the future. We are onboarding users as swiftly as we are able and you should hear from our team within a few days of signing up.

Restor as an Organization

What is Restor’s relationship with Crowther Lab?

The idea for Restor was born in 2017 in the Crowther Lab. Ecologists at the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich use machine learning models, field data, satellite imagery and environmental information to generate new maps that describe global ecosystems. The concept for Restor was to build a platform that could make all of this information readily available to the practitioners on the ground who are managing ecosystems directly. In 2020, the Crowther Lab began working with Google to build and scale Restor into a functioning online ecosystem, in collaboration with a wide network of restoration projects, communities, scientists, and environmental organizations around the world. Restor is now a separate organization, built for and with groups of all sizes that work in the restoration space to plan, manage and monitor restoration projects.

What is Restor’s relationship with Google?

The Restor platform was co-developed with Google, but is now a fully separate entity that is owned and operated by the Restor foundation.

Yes. Restor is 100% owned by a Swiss charitable Foundation, with the purpose to restore, preserve and maintain global ecosystems and their biodiversity.

Restor Models & Data

What are Restor’s data sources / where does Restor’s data come from?

References for all of our data sources can be found in the platform by clicking the “i” icon in the top corner of any data display. Restor gives preference to data layers and methodologies that are peer-reviewed, published in scientific journals, or otherwise validated by experts. Our Science Advisory Council assists us in deciding what data goes on the platform, to ensure quality.

Restor has great satellite imagery now, but what about future satellite data?

We are working with technology providers to ensure we can provide data over the long term. The ESRI maps that power our monitoring tool will be updated every 2-3 years for the next 20 years.

I’m getting native species suggestions for plants that don’t seem suitable for the place I’m looking at, what’s going on?

The suggestions outlined in the “native species” section represent a set of species that could possibly grow at your site, based on predictive models that correlate on-the-ground observations (in this case the presence of different plant species) with environmental data (things like the local climate, elevation and the type of soil present) to estimate where a given species might occur. The environmental variables that inform our models are typically relatively low resolution (often 1km2 or more), meaning that they can provide predictions at broader scales, but cannot capture very local-scale variation. Our species lists may therefore not be perfectly accurate at the scale of your backyard (for example), which might be drier than average for the area, have less fertile soil, etc. – this is a great example of why global data needs to be paired with on the ground knowledge and experience!

Why do I see two different lists of plant recommendations?

The first list shows species most likely to be in the immediate area in and around your site, while the second is a comprehensive list of all native species in the country (or countries) with which your drawn polygon overlaps. We can only model species with sufficient numbers of observations, which means our models tend to favor more abundant species. We have therefore also included a full list of species native to the country/countries that fall with your polygon, so that species too rare to properly model can also be captured. These countrywide lists can help supplement the information presented in our machine learning models, especially in areas with low species coverage. They are likely to be less useful in larger countries covering many different biome types (e.g. the USA, Brazil, Russia).

Your Data

I have concerns about sharing my data.

We highly value your privacy. We have a Privacy Policy that provides full details. In summary, it describes that Restor cannot make money off of user data; that your data can be shared with other partners (such as service providers) but only for the purpose of delivering Restor services; and that the data you made public can be shared with scientific partners in order to be able to improve scientific understanding of restoration. You always have control over your data and can remove it any time. Any data that is added through the platform is managed by Restor. Raw data uploaded when you create a site can be saved publicly or privately, at your discretion.

I have concerns about the Restor platform using my browsing data.

We do not collect or share any of your personal data. We monitor some data about how people are using the site so we can make improvements and add features. Any scientific data uploaded to Restor will never be sold, and will only be accessible to the scientific community for academic research. For more information, please consult our privacy policy.

Why is some site information required to create a polygon?

Restor has consulted with a wide range of experts in order to determine which information is required vs. optional to create a site profile. There are several important reasons to include some consistent baseline information: it makes it possible to filter projects on Restor based on key characteristics, it provides standardized data to researchers seeking to improve restoration science, and it ensures a minimum level of transparency across the Restor community. Restor is currently participating in multi-stakeholder processes to develop consistent sets of restoration indicators. As these indicator processes advance, we may shift site information to reflect them.

What does it mean to make my restoration project “public”?

When you make your project public, anyone on Restor can search your project and see the information you include about it. Right now, the default is to make all of your information public or private. There will always be a baseline of information required to have a public project, but we are working on fine tuning privacy settings so that you have more control about which project information you make public.

When I upload or create a polygon, what data gets publicly shared?

Creating a site on Restor does not mean it will be publicly shared. Each user will make that decision about each site. You can also choose to upload photos and site descriptions and an organizational overview to your projects (both public and private).

Will Restor have an API so I can export my information to an external website?

We plan to build an API to make our data available more widely and are scoping features for that, but our current focus is ensuring Restor’s core system functionalities and data.

Is there a way to easily import multiple existing shape files?

Right now, you can only upload one polygon at a time, but we know this is cumbersome and are working hard on expanding this functionality. If you have many sites or a lot of site information, contact us and we are also available to support you with your import.

Community Safeguards

How will Restor include social information in the future?

Although Restor is a platform born out of an ecological science lab, we fully believe that long-term restoration success depends on social and economic dynamics. We will have social information as part of the required and optional fields when you make your site profile on the platform and are working on globally available socially relevant map layers. We are also working with social scientists to build a survey that will be circulated via the platform, and to identify emerging global layers of social and economic data relevant to restoration and conservation activities. The most valuable social information will come from what users like you provide on their profiles.

How does Restor manage quality control of user input?

The level of a project’s transparency, monitoring data, and inputs from the Restor community are all cues that help assess the quality of a project. Restor aims to encourage transparency for all types of projects - those starting, succeeding, or still struggling to find the best solutions for their context. By having required data to make a project public, we ensure a minimum level of transparency.

How are you ensuring that local communities are not negatively impacted by your platform?

One of our goals is to ensure that restoration success is no longer limited by information access, which can disproportionally affect local communities. We hope that Restor can have a positive impact for anyone who uses it, including local communities using our tools to restore or conserve their lands, but we understand that we ultimately can’t control how people practice restoration. We wholeheartedly believe that ecosystem restoration needs to be socially responsible, fully engaging and respecting local and indiginous peoples. We are working towards a future in which Restor makes an active positive contribution to socially responsible restoration. In the meantime, we are mitigating possible negative impacts using the tools we currently have, including disclaimers, tagging functions, and expert support from our Science Advisory Council.

Collaboration

Is Restor working with other restoration monitoring platforms?

Yes, we are actively collaborating with other organizations doing this work.

Can I mention that I’m working with Restor?

Of course! We welcome partners and site users sharing that they are using Restor in their work and restoration action. Please get in touch at community@restor.eco to use our logo.