CITIZEN SCIENCE FOR EARTH OBSERVATION: APPLICATIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND DISASTER RESPONSE
- VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, P.O. Box 1000, 02044 VTT Espoo, Finland
Keywords: Citizen science, Earth observation, forest biomass, disaster mapping, water quality
Abstract. Citizen science is a promising way to increase temporal and spatial coverages of in-situ data, and to aid in data processing and analysis. In this paper, we present how citizen science can be used together with Earth observation, and demonstrate its value through three pilot projects focusing on forest biomass analysis, data management in emergencies and water quality monitoring. We also provide recommendations and ideas for follow-up activities.
In the forest biomass analysis pilot, in the state of Durango (Mexico), local volunteers make in-situ forest inventory measurements with mobile devices. The collected data is combined with Landsat-8 imagery to derive forest biomass map of the area. The study area includes over 390 permanent sampling plots that will provide reference data for concept validation and verification.
The emergency data management pilot focuses in the Philippines, in the areas affected by the typhoons Haiyan in November 2013 and Hagupit in December 2014. Data collected by emergency workers and citizens are combined with satellite data (Landsat-8, VHR if available) to intensify the disaster recovery activities and the coordination efforts. Simple processes for citizens, nongovernmental organisations and volunteers are developed to find and utilize up to date and freely available satellite imagery for coordination purposes and for building new not-for-profit services in disaster situations.
In the water quality monitoring pilot, citizens around the Baltic Sea area contribute to the algae situation awareness by collecting algae observations using a mobile application. In-situ observations are compared with surface algal bloom products based on the satellite imagery, e.g. Aqua MODIS images with 500 meter resolution. As an outcome, the usability of the citizen observations together with satellite data in the algae monitoring will be evaluated.