Thanks to everyone who participated in the Citizen Science Hackfest on 2/11 at the Citizen Science Association’s conference in San Jose, CA! This hands-on and discussion-driven meet-up was a wonderful opportunity for participants to dream up AND build creative tools to improve the field of citizen science! .
Once we settled into our digs (conveniently situated between the bar and food!) and after our ears adjusted to the noise around us, Arvind Suresh (SciStarter’s managing editor) kicked things off with introductions and each project owner pitched their ideas.
Steve Gano, our director of product development at SciStarter, organized the pitches into themes.
We divided the projects into four groups:
1) Platform Interoperability. This team worked on what is needed to better support online data management for citizen science projects . There’s so much work to be explored here. Contact Greg Newman (Gregory.Newman at ColoState dot Edu) if you’d like to join the ongoing dialogue.
2) Participant experience: finding projects, submitting and sharing individual points of data. We brainstormed ways to help researchers (biologists, in particular) subscribe to fresh data alerts for their species and regions of interest from many (wildlife observation) citizen science platforms, and enable observers on those platforms to be notified if their observation was sent to someone. We also discussed the development of a simple, accurate representation of a project’s geographic area of interest which is important not only for validating the contributed data, but also for finding and recruiting potential participants who live or visit the area of interest and may be able to contribute. We’ve decided to continue these discussions and if you’d like to join us, email email@example.com to indicate your interest.
3) Prototyping a data collection app. S. Andrew Sheppard and Teal Wyckoff worked on Species Tracker, a concept for a mobile app for biodiversity monitoring, inspired by the WyoBio project. They used the wq framework to create a simple prototype that allows anyone to upload photos and GPS coordinates together with species information. The prototype and source code are available online at species.wq.io.
4) Updating Wikipedia definition of Citizen Science: Between 80-90% of Wikipedia editors are male, so Dr. Caren Cooper, particularly wanted to encourage women to participate. One concern raised at the hackfest was that there’s not much oversight on who can edit someone else’s contribution so it’s a frustrating experience when someone puts time and energy into a thoughtful definition only to have it wiped out and replaced by more self-serving definitions. Contact Caren Cooper at Caren.Cooper at naturalsciences dot org to get involved in this effort.
As these projects progress, we’ll post updates here.
Special thanks to @MarDixon for providing early guidance and support! She’s a pro at this…and she’s my sister!