UCL Department of Geography and the Ordnance Survey are inviting applications for a PhD studentship to explore the internal systematic biases in crowd-sourced geographic information datasets (also known as Volunteered Geographic Information – VGI).
The studentship provides an exciting opportunity for a student to work with Ordnance Survey on understanding the use of crowd-sourced geographic information and potentially contributing to the use of such data sources by national mapping agencies. Ordnance Survey is an active partner in its sponsored research and offers students opportunities to work on-site and to contribute to workshops and innovation within the business. In addition, the student will be part of the Extreme Citizen Science group at UCL, which is one of the leading research groups in the area of crowdsourced geographic information and the study thereof.
For more information about the project, the studentship and details how to apply, please see here. or below:
Start Date: October 2017
Funding status: Applications are invited from UK and EU citizenship holders.
Funding Body: EPSRC and Ordnance Survey
Funding Details: The scholarship covers UCL student fees at the Home/EU rate and provides a stipend of £16,553 per annum tax free. Travel expenses and research equipment will also be provided to the successful candidate.
UCL Department of Geography and the Ordnance Survey are inviting applications for a PhD studentship to explore the internal systematic biases in crowd-sourced geographic information datasets (also known as Volunteered Geographic Information – VGI).
There has been a rapid increase in information gathered by people from all walks of life who are using connected devices with an ability to collect and share geographic information, such as GPS tracks, photographs with location information, or observations of the natural environment in citizen science projects. There is now a vast array of projects and activities that use this type of information, and each project has its own characteristics. Yet, it can be hypothesised that some of the characteristics of crowd-sourced geographic information will be systematically biased, and these biases differ between projects and data sources.
Crowd-sourced datasets will have some systematic biases that repeat across crowd-sourcing platforms. For example the impact of population density, business activity, and tourism on the places where data is available, or a weekend or seasonal bias of the temporal period of data collection. Others biases are project-specific – for example, some projects manage to attract more young men, and therefore places that are of interest to this demographic will be over-represented. One of the major obstacles that limit the use of such data sources is understanding and separating systematic and project-level biases and then developing statistical methods to evaluate their impact. In order to use such datasets to identify hidden features and patterns, there is a need to identify what are the relationships between a dataset and the world.
The aim of this research project, therefore, is to create a large collection of crowd-sourced GPS tracks and pedestrian trajectories, and use conflation techniques and advanced analytics to develop methodologies to identify and estimate the biases. Once this is done, the aim will be to identify hidden characteristics to be more confident about the patterns that are being observed.
The studentship provides an exciting opportunity for a student to work with Ordnance Survey on understanding the use of crowd-sourced geographic information, and potentially contributing to the use of such data sources by national mapping agencies. Ordnance Survey is an active partner in its sponsored research and offers students opportunities to work on-site and to contribute to workshops and innovation within the business. In addition, the student will be part of the Extreme Citizen Science group at UCL, which is one of the leading research groups in the area of crowdsourced geographic information and the study thereof.
The project will run for four years and will be supervised by Prof Muki Haklay from UCL and Jeremy Morley from Ordnance Survey. Professor Muki Haklay, who is a professor in the UCL Department of Geography and who has a track record of research and publication relating to crowdsourced data management and quality. Jeremy Morley is the Chief Geospatial Scientist at Ordnance Survey, leading the long-term business research programme, and has research experience in crowd-sourced geographic information.
Applicants should possess a strong bachelor’s degree (1st Class or 2:1 minimum) or Masters degree in Computer Science, Spatial statistics, Ecology, Geomatics, Geographic Information Science or a related discipline. The skills required to build the required database of case studies and the programming and analytical skills to assess biases and develop algorithms for their identification, are highly desirable. Candidates will ideally have some relevant previous research experience and should also have excellent communication and presentation skills.
The funding is provided for 4 years, and will involve spending time at the Ordnance Survey in Southampton.
Applications are invited from UK and EU citizens residing in UK. In particular, applicants must meet EPSRC eligibility and residency requirements found here:
The Cambridge Conference is an event that is held every 4 years, organised by the Ordnance Survey, and it is a meeting of many heads of National Mapping Agencies who come together to discuss shared interests and learn from each other.
The history of the conference is available here. This year, I was asked to provide a talk about volunteered geographic information and the role of crowdsourced information in the service of national mapping bodies. As common in these conferences, I was given a title for the talk and request on the topic – this was “The Willing Volunteer – Incorporating voluntary data into national databases” – and the description was: At present few mapping databases contain crowd sourced or voluntary data. Consider how, in the future, this will be a valuable source of data for national geospatial, cadastral and mapping agencies.
The talk itself covered 4 parts – since the conference as a whole looked at the future needs of mapping in the next 15 years, I’ve mentioned the trends that will influence crowdsourcing over this period. I’ve included both the technical and the social trends that will influence this area. I then covered few examples, and paid attention to the need to think differently about crowdsourced information (using the metaphor of scarcity/abundance as a way to explain that), then provided two insights from the “crowdsourcing geographic information in government” study that I’m currently leading. I’ve finished with few slides that demonstrate that engagement can reach out to everyone, regardless of their literacy.
These notes are from the workshop Modern Methods and Tools for Public Participation in Urban Planning 2017, held in Palac Obrzycko near Poznan, Poland on 22nd and 23rd June 2017 – the outline of the workshop stated “Researchers and practitioners of urban planning have had a variable interest in developing and applying methods of public participation since the 1970s… The interest in methods accelerated in the mid-1990s, accompanied by the developments in public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) and participatory GIS (PGIS). The arrival of Web 2.0 in the 2000s and improvements in geographic information technologies resulted in the proliferation of geographically related tools and Web services (Geoweb) for individuals and groups. Developments in P/PGIS, volunteered geographic information (VGI), and Geoweb have been recently paralleled by the growth of holistic approach to public participation in urban planning exemplified by Geodesign – a process relying on geographic digital methods and tools for integrating analysis, evaluation, design and public involvement in urban and regional planning. Despite much interest in participatory methods rooted in mapping and visualisation of geographical data, there has not been a gathering of scholars in P/PGIS, VGI, Geoweb, and Geodesign sharing their research and learning from one another.” (see ppgis2017.pl)
Piotr Jankowski opened the meeting explaining the background of the symposium explaining a local project at the Adam Mickiewicz University on participatory GIS and geodesign in Poznan. The workshop is mostly by invitation and was set to allow for detailed discussions. The purpose is to have a discussion on the themes of participatory GIS, citizen science, VGI, Geodesign and urban planning.
Marketta Kyttä (Aalto University, Aalto, Finland) – gave the keynote address to start the workshop. Marketta talked about 10 years of public participation GIS research and practice in Finland, reflecting on the experience since 2000. From a background in environment psychology, with a PhD in architecture, had an interest in the human side. There are claims that tacit and experiential knowledge cannot be integrated into design and practice. In the 1990s, she felt that environmental psychology is focusing on the person and how they feel, but forgotten about the environment. She believes that the interaction between the environment and the person is generating experiences, and there were few approaches to thinking about it – there are precedents from Wohlwill in 1973, pointing the environment is not in the head and others. Her work got into place-based, “softGIS” – as psychologist heard about it and wanted to study about human behaviour and experience over the physical environment. Thinking about how to link perceptions and emotions and the different ways of understanding space with a physical location. The new methodology was started in 2003 and the first prototype was developed in 2005, but the technology was weak. They then progressed to SoftGIS survey tools which are more robust technically, but each survey requires a lot of investment. This is now evolved to maptionnaire service that allows using these in a more structured way since 2015. They have done projects in Japan, or in USA, or in Aalto University campus, and many other places. Through the literature, she discovered relevant areas which she was not aware of at the beginning – PGIS, PPGIS, Citizen Science, VGI. The work that they’ve been doing is the nearest to Greg Brown – conceptually and structurally there are many similarities in the methodology. She sees the person-environmental relationship and participatory planning are in yin-yang relationship – they contribute to each other. They have looked at social sustainability, mobility, environmental memories and more. Across different groups – from children to elderly. Also at different scales, various planning stages, and various planning approaches. They have done over 70 research project that used place-based research ad over 150 participatory planning projects. Cases that were analysed between 2013-2017 show majority of participatory cases in planning – over 46% and 27% in research. The personal relationship to participatory planning – on how the effort of participatory planning is for few people to show up and lots of time have negative views. There are some people who are activists – but not all of us this way. There need to be an additional way of engaging people for people who are less assertive. The Finnish law mandated participatory planning since 2000, but things haven’t changed over the night and a slow process: only a handful of people participate, participation tool late, non-influential participation, concentration on resisting changes, data that have been collected is invisible, and the process is demanding process for the organisers and the participants. The experience of using PPGIS as a crowdsourcing tool in urban planning – a questionnaire tool. The pros are data volume, high quality and usable knowledge, foster collaborative participation. The cons are issues of digitalisation, limitations in the digital process, data quality, and practices in planning regarding the use of the information.
Data volume online allows collecting large datasets with little effort, and facilitating inclusiveness – wider groups of people that can be reached (2100 respondent about water in Helsinki), the representativeness look good across classes – the impact of level of education, but generally it can be argued that it is a representative group. There is also an ability to provide the same tool in different languages and reach different groups, and children and young people with appropriate tools. Children can give good quality data. It is also an easier way to reach a wider group of participants – getting 3750 people responding to get Helsinki Master Plan survey, with 33,000 place marking.
The second point that the data is high quality and usable knowledge – the methodology fosters individual participation – Kahila-Tani (2016) pointed about individual participation and collective participation issues – an ability to maintain the diversity of opinion, also independence, decentralisation, but it also requires aggregation. The maps allow a new type of knowledge in a visible format – such as the location of new building and green areas. Also allowing to do different analysis of green structures, and finding out about people home and which places they notice and use buffering to calculate densities around it. Using urban structure, behavioural and experiential factors, and then linked it to health and wellbeing. In the city centre, they found one set of a link: density increases the perceived environmental quality if it brings the everyday services closer. In the suburbs, the closer the services were, the lower the perceived environmental quality – why is this happening in the suburbs is a question. PPGIS allows for exploring different context.
Can we foster deep collaboration? The Maptionnaire tool allows the creation of a geographical survey with the survey. Asking many questions to participants. Reaching out to participants can be done by a representative sample and trying to reach them, sometimes offline, or more opportunistic approaches of using publicity online, or through a specific event. In a public-participation support system (Kahila-Tani 2016) considered the different stages that have participation potential, and the initiation phase is important. This was indeed in many cases the way Maptionnaire is being used. Is the participation influential in terms of impacting on the decision process. In the Helsinki master plan it was possible to see the impact of suggestion as the plan was published on a grid, and it was possible to compare it to the public survey and it shows that about 25% of the areas that people want to protect are threatened by the plan. PPGIS can be also integrated into existing systems, which is demonstrated in the City of Lahti.
The issues in PPGIS include first, use of digitisation: digital divide, technology stress that exists among older participants – examining people over 80s, addressing the problems in the redesign of the application.
Second, it is important to see the PPGIS in addition to deliberative processes that are linked to PPGIS data – people pointed that the PPGIS data is wrong as it didn’t represent their opinion.
Third, there are issues of data quality: representatives, cherry picking, user privacy, manipulation, and skills to use the data. The Helsinki data is over-represented in 20-40 year old. Because the issue is about the opportunity to participate and not only about representativeness. It is possible to compare the representative sample with the wider response. All sort of arguments: other age groups are represented in other processes, or that they will be impacted by the programme, etc.
Fourth, there are also ineffective planning practices: lack of willingness to allow participation or influence, challenges in integrating the data into practice, and there is also an issue that surveys are a continuation of top-down participation. There is a demand towards co-created surveys and co-analysed data sets. There aren’t examples for this and that is a future challenge. PPGIS can be used as a therapeutic participatory device
There are pros and cons – where is the balance. We can think about smart participation using social media – Foursquare, Instagram, OpenStreetMap or Twitter – we need to think about how to make them work. Looking ah how high-quality GIS knowledge from people can support smart, friendly urban planning.
PAPER SESSION I: CONCEPTS AND FRAMEWORKS
14:30 – 15:00: Examining the values that are embedded in the processes and technologies of participatory GIS. Muki Haklay (University College London, London, Great Britain) My talk started with noting that a persistent question about participatory methodologies that rely on technologies, such as public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS), is how to integrate values, such as inclusiveness of all the people that are impacted by a decision, or identifying options that are popular with the majority but acceptable to the minority, within technologically focused projects. Moreover, technologies do not operate by themselves – they are embedded in organisational, political, and social processes that set how they are used, who can use them, and in what context. Therefore, we should explore where the values reside? Two factors obscure our view: The misleading conceptualisation that technologies are value free, and can be used for good or for bad – which put all the weight on the process and ignores the way in which any technology allows only certain actions to be taken. Another popular view of technology conceptualisation is to emphasise their advantages (upside) and ignore their limitations. If we move beyond these, and other “common sense” views of technologies, we can notice how process and technology intertwine.
We can, therefore, look at the way the process/technology reinforce and limit each other, and the way that the values are integrated and influence them. With this analysis, we can also consider how technological development can explicitly include considerations of values, and be philosophically, politically, and social theory informed. We need to consider the roles, skills, and knowledge of the people that are involved in each part of the process – from community facilitation to software development.
The talk draws on the experience of developing participatory geographic information technologies over the past 20 years and will suggest future directions for values-based participatory technology development.
Formal ontologies to support participatory urban planning through the prism of roles theory Alessia Calafiore (University of Torino, Torino, Italy) – covering aspects of Firstlife – which is about collecting knowledge through crowdsourcing and then support for informed urban planning. The aim is collecting information about places and representation in place. A practical concern in GIS is to make explicit the assumption about daily special experiences. How is place specially constructed? People behaviour is many times unexpected – places that can be used to unexpected use. In an ontological analysis, she tries to represent spatially located social practices. Urban artefacts are interacting with people through social practices. She’s developed her concept on the DOLCE ontological framework. She went on to define urban artefacts – including design and normative constraints and look at some of the aspects that are rigid. A social place is a non-rigid aspect of a space and she’s using social roles theory for this aspect. She defines social practices with predicate logic
G-ICT and creative thinking in the context of urban resilience Zorica Nedovic-Budic, Aoife Corcoran (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland) – talking about the role of geographical ICT in creative thinking on urban planning, based on the result of TURAS project (turas-cities.org). She specifically looking on several projects: reusing Dublin, Meadows Timeline, and TwitterGI. She specifically looking a the way these ICT tools can be used to improve resilience. Addressing issues such as flooding, lack of green infrastructure in inner cities or use of empty spaces. The task for cities is to move to more resilience stage. The city needs to build capacity to address change. Social-ecological resilience is the ability to adapt and transform as results of a change. Her three cases looked at empty places in Dublin, community history and interventions in the Meadows Communities in Nottingham and supporting researchers on urban resilience at UEL in London. In each case, she carried out a focus group with different stakeholders and carried out different tests. In Dublin, ReusingDublin provided 400 entries about different locations that can be used, and in Nottingham, a geographic timeline about the history of an estate. In London, it was information from Twitter that can assist researchers. Also carried out a serious of events. There is different evident that some of the technologies helped in creating new ideas, but she actually realised that a co-creation process is quite central. The data alone is not enough to generate new ideas but require a more deliberative project. The mutability of technology is important – Reusing Dublin is being used by a homeless charity to raise awareness and collect data that can be used to lead to a change. Citizens + Data = Change – with data, awareness and joint effort. She is now setting the up the space engagers social enterprise to address some spatial issues in different communities in Ireland. Geospatial technologies – by having people engaged for a short time will allow people to get involved in coming up with ideas or contribute to wider social goods.
Engineering for the local systems of the social participation architecture Michał Dzięcielski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland), Maciej Kamiński, Maciej Szarejko (Urban Cybernetics Center, Wrocław University of Technology, Worcław, Poland), Sara Zielińska (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland) – thinking about using ERP tool, lean management to manage a city, but also to have a participatory element. To manage a city, you can’t assume formal order to citizens, but we can’t give complete freedom and anarchy in a city – we’re looking for a golden mean. Suggesting to use Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) that were designed for big companies, so want to have a role for public participation with the outcome of improving the quality of life. The idea of an ERP for a city is the ability to improve city foresight and allow the citizens to show their ideas and how they’ll impact the city. The idea is also to grab ideas from lean management – ensuring that we give citizens the information that will support their needs, and from participatory budgeting, to allow people to create and fund their projects. So their suggested architecture – people who come with ideas, which are going to the participatory projects support office in the city. The PPSO can explore, by using an ERP which projects would result in unwanted outcomes and not improve the quality of life – criteria against which assess projects. Using ERP and lean management by the project support office can help in carrying out such activities in the city.
The afternoon ended with TOOL DEMOS the provided an overview and demonstration of different PPGIS tools.
First GeoCitizen Platform byKarl Atzmanstorfer, Thomas Blaschke (University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria) the GeoCitizen Platform – based on 15 years of work that was done in Salzburg. The platform, geocitizen.org – transparent platform for participatory community management with a structured process for communication between all stakeholders and assist decision making processes. They have smartphone interface, web platform, and a management dashboard. The methodology: browsing, collecting geographical information, sharing ideas which are geotagged, then discussing spatial content, rating proposals, and monitoring implementation. The stages that are going through a clear design that show which stage is progressing and aiming to include as many stakeholders as relevant to the process.
The second demonstration was of Geodiscussion Dariusz Walczak (Recoded, Poznań, Poland), Marek Młodkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland) – the project is about supporting public participation in urban planning through GIS. They demonstrate a case study in a suburban location near Poznan and the discussion was about local urban development plan. The Geo-discussion can be viewed on the web and on a mobile phone. They had 65 users, 131 discussion threads and 575 further activities. The Google analytics show that it’s 25-34 people and a bit more male, mostly using the desktop version. Each thread of the discussion has a unique URL and can be used to direct someone to a specific comment. There are details or people, date, and other bits of information. The administrator point of view can see the threads and content of comments and can hide some comments. The process of setting the system include simplification of the technical document to short prompts that can be open for discussion is an important part of the system. The system includes many considerations on how to address the specific aspects of discussions in a way that produces actionable information for planners.
The final demonstration was of Geodesign by Michele Campagna, Chiara Cocco (University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy) showing their Geodesign system. The origin of the system from work that was done by Carl Steinitz in CASA at UCL. There are many planning styles with different outcomes and methodologies. In design together we need planners and participants from the public to deal with information – so we need simple interfaces. The geodesign framework is the core of Steinitz model of Geodesign. We start with representation models and process models – and then have evaluation models. There is a cycle of data-information-knowledge in the assessment phase and the intervention stage. The demonstration of the Geodesign Hub is a web application that is very long and showing suitability maps that are coloured in a consistent way and the input data can be done either by experts or in a collaborative way. The participants are asked to do diagrams to describe the ideas by different participants. People can copy diagrams of different people and adjust them. Diagrams can be created by experts and by general participants. People can mark the ones that they like especially. Then it is possible to create a synthesis. They can then also check and see the different modelling of different activities and their costs. The hub is supporting the process of calculating costs, comparing options and assessing impacts. https://www.geodesignhub.com/
The workshop was organised by the ethics working group of the Citizen Science Association, and organised by Anne Bowser – Wilson Center; Lisa Rasmussen – University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Caren Cooper – North Carolina State University and North Carolina Museum of Nature Sciences. The charter for the working group was to identify what are the ethical issues in citizen science. The gap in citizen science is not just mechanisms and regulations, but also that you are likely to fall into an ethical dilemma. The goal is to identify good and inclusive mechanisms for gathering input to a conference in July 2018 on citizen science ethics with people from STS, philosophy, citizen science and other areas. People tend to fall into regulatory aspects of ethical approval, but want to separate it and navigate two systems – ethics as in what you should do and the other is what is done within regulations about human subjects. The expertise that are needed to explore ethical issues includes federal agencies (e.g. EPA), STS scholars. practitioners. Community-based researcher, students, IRB chair, a lawyer.
What are the important ethical issues in citizen science, and identify areas that need to be explored further? liability; outcomes – identify and issue through the project, and then what you do with it?; regulatory aspects of working with human subjects; Technological issues – recording people (audio, image); Non-professional and lack of shared understanding of ethics; Equity, access, and inclusivity; informed consent – how we do it; Transparency – around data ownership and use; Duty of care – to participants in safety and in wellbeing; activism vs. neutrality; organisation without traditional oversight; labour ethics – exploitation; ethics of workarounds and implications to people; Intellectual property and attribution; privacy; roles in technologies and the way that way they facilitate platforms; power relationship within technology; indigenous and traditional knowledge; communication about research integrity; Responsible practices towards the environment; authority/credentials/expertise; Democratisations; community norms; multiple epistemological and ontological approaches toward science and its outcome.
Considering potential ethical framework – can think about regulatory framework, typology framework, other possibilities – Resnik, Elliott and Miller paper on ethics for citizen science, or Vayena & Tasioulas citizen science rights paper or ECSA 10 principles. There is a framework by Caren Cooper that maps the type of research areas in citizen science that can help in mapping the ethical issues and challenges.
There is clear value in articulating why citizen science as an area deserves special attention in terms of thinking about ethics and the reasons to think about it. There is also a potential of harming the field of citizen science by thinking about the side effect of ethical guidelines – and that can be considered within the lifetime of a project. A report about ethics and some guidelines can assist the field as it grows: there are more people entering and developing projects, and therefore there can be issues emerging that might undermine the field as a whole. It’s therefore used to have a stance about ethics to identify when these are breached. There is also a need for a toolkit with templates and guidelines that can be adapted for a specific project.
The ethics working group of the Citizen Science Association will start collecting case studies and examples of ethics documents that can be used. There is a call for papers to develop a virtual issue for Citizen Science Theory and Practice.
The afternoon session started with Web development insights
Taking on the Challenges of Broadening Participation in Data Visualization and Analysis with FieldScope
Daniel Edelson – BSCS – cover fieldscope that allow people to collect data, design the form, and visualise and analyse it. He covered the Chesapeake Watershed Water Quality study. The area that influences the bay is a very large area. Information is being collected at times when school is doing things, so there are issues with the variability of data collection. Challenges to collect data – very few teachers and students get to the stage of analysing. All the time allocated was used to get people to the stage of data collection, and people used certain analysis tools to understand where to collect data. They want to have flexibility in data protocols, aimed at more reliable participation, and try to get people to analysis. The lesson is that effort should be paid to more active and structured process of engagement and involving schools in the process.
Patterns of Behaviour Across Online Citizen Science
Chris Lintott – Zooniverse.org; Helen Spiers* – University of Oxford; Grant Miller – University of Oxford / Zooniverse; Lucy Fortson – University of Minnesota; Laura Trouille – Adler Planetarium. Zoonivrse is now 10 years, with many projects, and pull data from 63 projects (ecology and astronomy) from 2012 to 2016 with 146,243,599 classification dataset. Looking at different classifications – in the first 100 days post launch, there is a range of classification. Projects have a peak after the launch and drop, apart from regular communication with the. High heterogeneity in the number of unique volunteers, with more volunteers in Astronomy. There is participation inequality across the projects. What they see from google analytics is that projects appeal across projects. in astronomy more male participation, closer participation by females in ecology. There are questions about what to do with over and under-represented groups. They are also analysing user movement between projects. firstname.lastname@example.org
Validated Dynamic Consensus Approach for Citizen Science Projects Employing Crowd-based Detection Tasks
Pietro Michelucci – Human Computation Institute. Pietro runs with EyesonAlz and want to share problem and solutions. The goal is crowdsourced classification and wants to explore things. They had a problem with random responders with bots, also people who want to do other malicious things – so using lessons from psycho-physics – learning about separating sensitivity and bias – the operator need to decide if it is real object that requires alarm, in signal detection theory you can tease apart the sensitivity of the apparatus to the bias of the operator. When using an approach that measures the process of putting information in. Another problem is how you combine the results from the crowd. They carried out validation study and found that around 15 they get into the research threshold that they can use the data. They use 20 classifications to get high quality of data. Another problem is analytic efficiency – not to waste people time and they started assigning weights to a participant and stop when you have enough information – a paper from Willett et al. 2013 on Galaxy Zoo 2 that allow you to assess expertise. Marshall et al. 2015 Space Warps paper and extends this approach to measuring in a collective way. The number is between 2 and 10 and usually 5 so it is much better to use of people’s time.
Working Together: Developers and Project Leads
Robert Pastel – Michigan Technological University – app development is not done in a vacuum: participants, developers and project lead. For a successful application, all those core participants need to work together. The methodology includes participatory design and UCD principles, together with an Agile development. The participatory design is done with project leads. Aiming to have an MVP in the first three months and starting a new app development after it.
A ‘Night in the Cloud’ – Geoff described the background in TV programming and the noticing that there are plenty of definition of citizen science, but for the Crowd and the Cloud, they use “science for, and by, the people” – and they set the programme to turn viewers to doors. Waleed recalls his interest in science – and he pointed to “earth rising” and the “blue marble” as influential ways of viewing the earth. There is also the power of face to face the perspective of close and personal. There is impressive data – 2.3m volunteers in environmental conservation – $2.5b worth of effort. Rick Bonney pointed that for many years, there was a need to see involvement of television in making citizen science visible, and when Geoff called, and after quick google check which reveal the involvement in Cosmos, he contacted him back to support the process of the programme. The programme also helped with EyesOnAltz that address the analysis of vessels in a video. The visibility of the project on the Crowd and the Cloud has helped in increasing participation. Waleed was noticing the commitments and interest of participants and enthusiasm and connection to the environment. The best way for high-quality data is to care passionately about what they are measuring. Jennifer Shirk – used resources from the crowd and the cloud to create a programme for out of school activities. The link to SciStarter helped in converting viewers to active participants and Waleed was struck by the commitment and passion of participants and their commitment to producing real science of high quality. The close and personal perspective is important to understand the world and the potential of it.
Below are the clips that were prepared by the crown and the cloud – the second shows the late Gill Conquest
Keynote by Dr. Ellen Jorgensen is co-founder and Executive Director of Genspace, a community biolab. She brings DIY-Bio to the conference. Her experience from the previous conference was the experience of “people want me only for my visual cortex” – contributory projects that are science led. Ellen interested in Public driven, public analysed of citizen science. Scientists are in the group by their voice is not stronger from anyone else. Publication is not the only major goal. DIY bio started in Boston our of the iGEM competition, with the development from SynBio – a level of abstractions that allow genetic engineering that opens up the ability of amateur to join genetic engineering. DIYbio is a mix from maker movement, synbio and cheap DNA & second-hand equipment. The core question for her was: Can the general public join in to understand molecular biology better? The biohacking labs came up through crowdfunding for equipment, then finding space. Genespace started about space in NYC in someone’s kitchen. The interesting thing was that people were fascinated by something that at work, she did every day. Taking pictures of the DNA going in the gel. Recreate space where we enter science – interesting, cool, and enquiry and tinkering, while ensuring that it is safe. Started doing things like going out to a park and extracting DNA from fruit and veg in a local market. Strawberry DNA extraction – to people to establish a lab was a radical idea. The press continues to be interested – creating community biotech lab fascinated and raised questions. The model is a membership organisation and also doing outreach and exploring. In order to facilitate the place, they hooked people on their advisory board – e.g. the head of safety at MIT. They found that membership wasn’t enough, and they started running classes – exposing people to biotech, and after classes people joined. At the beginning, a lot of personal time was invested before the organisation become established. There was a lot of interest from artists who wanted to explore bio-art, e.g. the work around picking up chewing gum, and suggesting reconstruction of faces from that which caused a big noise. They developed the organisation by working with other bodies in order to gain legitimacy. Joining an iGEM competition with college students was extended to high school. The issue with the default outreach is that people with higher science capital found about genespace, but not local communities or people from less strong socioeconomic background, they now have a programme that reach out to public schools in Brooklyn and she is involved in active outreach to under-represented groups. The balk of the citizen science work was from people that took the class, so the issue was to consider how to increase engagement. She brought from Alaska plant sample, and that was entry point to a more intensive project. Guwanus Canal project, analysing bacteria that are living in an area that is about to be reconstructed – all sort of atypical life forms that can be potentially used to address polluted area. About 50% was not identified, so there is plenty of things to learn about it. And there is a website on the microbiology about the canal and there is also presentation.
The space is also supporting entrepreneurship – for example, OpenTrons that build cheap rpipette,pette , and that can allow it to be used in more laboratory, and the interface is much better. From California came “real vegan cheese” they had a range or project. Some projects are really controversial – making a glowing plant. The controversial thing was done on kickstarted – it was showing public interest in GM product, plus the issue of giving seeds raised major opposition. There is also an open insulin project to try to re-engineer bacteria to make insulin which was one of the early projects. Very few people can get into deep engagement, but it is worthwhile to allow exploring projects that won’t emerge in regular paths. The community is diverse and a way to address genetic engineering, through the experience with children. The way they operate is to allow people to use space for any project – for profit or not for it, the way they want. Genespace project a platform for people to work, and they need to fit into the space and the safety procedures. Biosafety law is to be careful and not amplify something that is unknown.
Following the keynote, the second session focused on The power of traditional knowledge
Fostering Resilience and Adaptation to Drought in the High Plains: Ethically Engaging Communities Throughout the Research Process
Jacqueline Vadjunec* – Oklahoma State University/ Department of Geography; Todd Fagin – Oklahoma Biological Survey; Nicole Colston – Oklahoma State University, Department of Geography. The 5 state area is one that have a lot of environmental stressors – where the dust bowl started. Her routes are in Participatory Action Research, with links to liberation theology and human centred approach. An approach that includes all stakeholders and it doesn’t privilege the researcher or the science. Science is valued as traditional knowledge. She was trained in the tropics, and it’s a project about a long-term drought that started with self funding. Some entry points for using participatory methods for citizen science – developing questions and deliverable together. They started assisting a citizen science project about data sharing on hydrology and involving geologists and local hydrologists – they now getting into grant writing. Another thing is to support local museums – archiving, extracting data from microfiche and all sort of support activities. She also using the interaction with the community as a teaching opportunity for the student that work with the needs of the students. Another thing is creating safe spaces for discussion on contested issues. They have done a lot of participatory mapping and capturing hazards and risk mapping. Local knowledge plenty of time matches scientific analysis. They created storymaps as a way to share information – discussion over what is shared and not. Willing to help the community and support their work.
The advantages – better science and ensuring that data is verified with local knowledge, increased participation. It brings strong social capital, and ethical issues as the core. On the challenges, it require a lot of attention and agreeing to do things.
The Transformative Capacity of Citizen Science to Empower and Enable Agro-pastoral Communities to Adapt Their Governance of Natural Resource in the Remote Tianshan Mountains in Central Asia
Mark Foggin, Altyn Kapalova, Lira Sagynbekova, Azamat Azarov*, Evgenii Shibkov, Aline Rosset, Jangyl Ismailova, Samat Kalmuratov, Christian Hergarten – Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia – Working in Kyrgyzstan and describing two projects with communities. The learning landscape initiative are about creating long-term monitoring of social and ecological systems, and they want to work in different countries. Citizen science is seen as integral to the learning landscape initiative. The area is dependent on agriculture and livestock, so agro-pastoral practices and there was land degradation, there is a lack of environmental data since independent, and there is no data sharing between research and local land use decision-making bodies. They carry out their study in Naryn province -a mountain environmental virtual observatory using weather station, cameratraps and cybertracker. and a specific “Kyrgyz mountains environmental education and citizen science project”. The project provide better climatic data and information about wildlife – specifically in Salkyntor National Park and Naryn State Nature Reserve. There are challenges in maintaining data collection by pastoralists. The work with schools and shared information. Cybertracker design was done by experts for pastoral community and national park.
Why We Lose Traditional Ecological Knowledge and How Citizen Science Can Help Us Rebuild Our Knowledge Banks
Madhusudan Katti – North Carolina State University – the first nations protocol: giving thanks to the first nations on whom their land we’re holding the conference. What we are doing can erase previous systems of knowledge. What is that we know about nature and how we understand it? How our knowledge decay and can be restored? Humans pay attention to nature – stars, animal, environment. We have our mind that we put forward – we are a way for the cosmos to understand itself (Carl Sagan). Formal science is one way of knowing ourselves. We pay attention to nature – diverting people from screens. Paying attention and acquiring knowledge, depend if you need to live on nature, or is it mediated through technology and markets. Those living in the city may know where the near coffee shop. Direct connection to nature can lead to an understanding of nature that also can help ecologists. He mentioned about changed in local ecological knowledge. When a relationship are extractive – just paying to provide information, it can cause unexpected cultural changes, while working together with an ecologist, there was mutual knowledge exchange that enhanced the experience of nature for both sides. Science and technology can also destroy existing knowledge systems and mutual appreciation can increase the pool of knowledge.
Learning to Work with Nature: Designing for a Shared Intelligence on Fundamental Processes Such as Soil Function
Peter Donovan – Soil Carbon Coalition – As a society we manage issues piecewise that looks at different issues, instead of looking in a more holistic way, with skirmishes between different people and interests. Beyond all of it, there are the carbon and water cycles. “Humankind is nature becoming aware of itself” Eliee Reclus (1905) – this is beyond coupled human/nature systems. One way to improve knowledge is to have participatory shared intelligence, leading to appropriate results. If we have bottom-up asset based approach that can help in thinkings on carbon and water cycle. We need to consider repeatability: location, measuring before and after, open data, and people willing and capable to report. Further information is in socialcarboncoalition.org – facilitating shared intelligence about assets that are supported by communities.
Embrace the Bureaucracy: Navigating Institutional Barriers to Citizen Science Organizer: Lea Shanley – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Citizen Science: Overcoming Institutional Barriers and Growing a Federal Community Lea Shanley, South Big Data Innovation Hub, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil
Lea covered the federal community of practice – to community of practice was bottom up and 300 members – a dynamic learning network. Some agency had citizen science and they reached out to new areas – agency staff worked in silos and 2011 they started linking people together to create connections to share best practices. The worries where trust – data quality, administrative (paper reduction act) and other things. In 2011 convened the Commons Lab in Wilson Center and start to commissioned studies on the “science of citizen science”. They identified barriers and the need to create a toolkit for the federal government to address the needs of these bodies. They tried to align the work with decision maker priorities (e.g. open government, innovation) and also political support. The also addressed legal issues – bring lawyers from the start, increase the funding, inform legislation, provide support to Holden memo.
NASA’s Public Participation Universe: Democratizing Innovation at the U.S. Civil Space Agency Amy Kaminski, NASA at NASA they considered how they can increase acceptance of citizen science – both employees and the scientific community. NASA got strategic goals with funding, in-house personnel and agreements with external entities – they are doing research on space and Earth science through space-based missions. Projects such as Stardust@Home and other projects. Citizen science is an exception, not the norm. Science community lack of familiarity – thinking that it’s not science just outreach, questions about data quality, and also facing the review panel and its conservative approach. Applicants don’t take the risk. They created funding opportunities, create a community of practice and explicitly introduce to it in the umbrella language that points to it. They are also fostering collaborations with open innovation communities.
Citizen Science at the US Environmental Protection Agency
Alison Parker*, ORISE fellow hosted by the US Environmental Protection Agency; Barbara Martinez, Conservation X Labs. Considered how crowdsourcing and citizen science at the EPA. Talked to many researchers and scientists at the EPA – it’s the issue “I want to use it, but… “. The paperwork reduction act – administrative structure that requires any data collection from the public need to develop information collection request, publishing twice and requesting permission – this is a major hurdle. There is a report from Robert Gellman who suggested to Embrace the bureaucracy, or have umbrella clearance that will be used for other activities – each project gets approval from OMB, and that facilitate it in 2 weeks instead of several months. The EPA went through activities to create this approval – starting in March 2015 and approving it in April 2016. They used the ECSA Ten Principles contributed to the policy formation and help to define what falls under citizen science. The way to improve adoption was to take several trends: citizen science, IoT, Smart Cities – they made the Smart City Air Challenge to deploy hundreds of sensors to monitor continuously. They received 22 submissions and demonstrated interest. There was partnering with a local organisation – Open Air Baltimore and Lafayette network are deploying system .Citizen scientists are eager to engage with an issue that they care about, partner with others, and share their knowledge. The NACEPT (National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology) report provided a start but they started the process but it is just the beginning.
The Importance of Design in Open Innovation Efforts Sophia Liu, US Geological Survey
As innovation specialist – specialist in human-centred design. She created in 2013-2014 created Crisis Crowdsourcing Framework. they’ve done the iCoast to take information to improve USGS coastal erosion method. They have been agile UX design – starting from Matlab, then tried with Ruby and PHP. Different technologies allow to try it. Images for pre and post storm allow people to analyse the different. Tools such as magnifying glass that use low res image that helps to understand what is happening with the participants. Actually the design help in data quality. Lots of hacking red tape to understand what is needed – e.g. through small pilots. STOP challenges: socio-cultural, technological, organisational and political/policy
The community of practice wanted to raise awareness, try to streamline the ways to approve it and provide resources – growing the network – not only bottom-up but also top-down. Regarding funding – for small not-for-profit working on disadvantaged communities, complex grant applications are a major obstacle due to funding and time resources. The way to solve that might be to work together through partnerships with government bodies that might have the same goals as you and build personal relationships. Design issues at USGS – the original users are the internal scientists who provide the gold standard set for the process, and also working locally. You must engage with people early on.
Citizen Science Communication – Connecting Across Disciplines
Organizer: Susanne Hecker – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Interconnecting these two fields – citizen science and science communication to discuss it together.
Beyond the deficit model – Communication in citizen science
Susanne Hecker, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
“Citizen Science is one of the most dramatic development in science communication in recent years” (Lewenstein) – the talk will explore how science is communicated towards the public. She start from a description of a scientist (Hanz) who have knowledge, expertise, and methods. When it comes to the public, Hanz thinks of deficits that the public have – cognitive deficit, lack of interest, deficit of knowledge – it’s a value judgement. The model was challenged – – in 2016 the journal of science communication explored if the deficit model is dead or not. The literature said that when going to science communication, the deficit model is still there in the way scientists talk to the public. In the 1980s, with the report from the Royal Society, there was a talk about moving toward dialogue and engagement – the scientist get out of the house of science, and now experience face to face integration with the public and seeing the range of ideas and approaches that are there. Kaplan concepts of two communities showed different concerns, language and focus. In citizen science, the communication is more complex – if the project doesn’t do the science communication well, then people go away. The scientists are also not in control – there is an exchange of ideas among the participants, expertise from both sides, traditional knowledge. So what are the main form of a contributory project – need to find out how to motivate people, train, inform, instruct, educate, disseminate, inspire, provide feedback. In a co-created project there are fewer people and the interaction is more intense, and the participants have their own concerned from personal concerns, to issues about their work – so the science communication aims are different – there is an exchange, negotiations of commons aim, collaborate, create agree and discuss, listen and disseminate. It is important to understand. The main driver for sci comm in citizen science include a dialogue on a par – not everyone has the same power, but it is more about respect. Relevant to communicate things that are relevant to the audience that was to participate. It is important to have transparency about what is happening and what is not happening. Finally you need engagement. There are four key players: scientists, citizens, media, and also communication mediators.
What are the interesting questions about citizen science?
Bruce V. Lewenstein, Cornell University
Valuing citizen science participation for an academics? Where citizen science work and doesn’t work? How do you create a voice to the participants? What is the long-term impact on volunteers? What model of communication are you assuming? How different perception of science influence participation? What are our responsibility? What levels of scientific literacy among participants? How to communicate to policy makers and decision makers the results?
There are three meanings there are two complex: measuring, identify cases – practical things, then there are things of the implications of how we thinks about academia. For many years, there were scientists engaged in policy for people who scientists who engaged in policy process where citizen scientists. There was citizens engaged in science policy through consensus conferences etc. Finally there was participation in the scientific process. He then covered the Irwin/Bonney view of citizen science. Irwin takes the view of engagement in a political and democratic way in science – how publics engaged with the governance of science. Some of the practical questions about communication hit this deeper issue. There is the use of Matthew Fontain Maury who was written out of history despite major mapping effort, because of the competition with the scientific establishment – only the special will know. Maury viewed as something that everyone can contribute – he was Southerner and moved out when the war started, as well as being difficult person, was a reason to write him out. Seeing science as elitist has prevailed since. Part of the problem with the naming of citizen science is coming from the political aspects – is it about opening science or building up forms of elite knowledge.
The common questions are the one that come up usually: data validity, contribution to reliable knowledge, volunteer motivation, what do participants learn? In STS they are calling for papers with more explicit political aspects – civic science, citizen science as resistance, The invisibility of citizen scientists, issues of participation inequality. There are questions about the nature of expertise and who holds it? How does expertise shape openness to participation? Challenges to defining those that are not experts. Who owns data? What is the role of labourers or technicians? What is the role of everyone? How do community based project acquire authority? but ultimately there is questions of citizenship – what are they citizens of? What kind of citizenship
Increase in education might be about challenging the process of challenging expertise – the point of shifting from deficit to engagement are about things that influence the process which are about more complex relationship of knowledge. There are all sort of knowledge, and the deficits are more than just about scientific literacy – think about science literacy within the community. The deficit model assume that the problem is that if problems will just disappear and they see it in the same way as scientists – but they will have different views and understanding of the world. There is also implicit knowledge that is hard to articulate. Transfer of knowledge doesn’t work simply and require transformation of the knowledge – an underlying assumption that everything will be better if we pass the information. There have been cultural shift within the scientific community that they want to be much more informed about science communication.
Breaking the Barriers to Citizen Science Artemis Skarlatidou* – University College London; Alice Sheppard – University College London; Muki Haklay – University College London; Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association. Alice Sheppard presented the talk, exploring the DITOs project. The DITOs project is of significant scale – many events about citizen science across Europe, with 11 partners from 10 different countries. What we want is to get people involved in citizen science and to achieve wide and deep public engagement. Type of events that we’re running are things like BioBlitz, Bio Art, Exhibition, Science in Schools, as well as the science games competition iGamer, or the travelling exhibition bus that will reach to rural places without science museum to increase exposure to citizen science and the potential to join. The escalator model is presented, including the experience that Alice herself had in getting into science through her life. She also presented the early stages of the DITOs logic model that explain how we want to convert how the different activities lead to results and outcomes. For example, funding to add CS in a museum, that will allow more people to join and a person can leave the museum with some involvement in citizen science and that increase access to science. Different activities map to different stages in the escalator.
Citizen Science and Open Hardware: Creating a Roadmap for Accessible Technology Innovation
Shannon Dosemagen* – Public Lab; François Grey – University of Geneva; Jenny Molloy – University of Cambridge. The experience that has developed in public lab, which from the start adopted open hardware licences led to a gathering for open science hardware, which brings together those that are interested in developing open hardware tools and protocols. Science require tools and these are difficult to access and therefore presents a barrier to participation. Makers lead to tools that are cheap, open hardware, open source software, etc. and this can make science tools more available. CERN started developing the open hardware licence that will allow adapting and changing the tools for local condition. CERN licence is aimed to have verified and tested tools. The first gathering for open science was in CERN, people are coming together from different areas and experiences and this allow to bring 50 people, and the second event was in Chile, with 180 people applying after a second year with strong commitment to equity in terms of gender, geography, position in terms for accepting participants. Gathering for Open Science Hardware has now set of principles that are available on the website. There is also think about on how equity is increase to scientific tools – tools need to be made of material that can be sourced locally and repaired. Politics of designing a tool were considered – there are many tools that are available: from sensors, to devices. There is a mission to change things by 2025, with many more accessible tools and more participatory approaches.
What We Learned from Talking to 110 People About Citizen Science Tools: Scaling and Sustaining Through the NSF Innovation Corps for Learning Program
Micah Lande – Arizona State University; Darlene Cavalier* – Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society; Brianne Fisher – ; David Sittenfeld – ; Erica Prange – SciStarter and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Catherine Hoffman – SciStarter. SciStarter received funding to explore the perceptions and needs of the people who are using the platform. The survey looked at SciStarter and how people join and use the project. SciStarter is helping to help people’s journeys and noticing that people join more than one project – usually 3-5. They look at current data sharing. The identity problem with access to tools that contribute to a project, so SciStarter is considered how to get people kits that can help with tools. They can consider kits that help people to join several projects. There is a potential to give people set of instruments that can help them join a set of related project – the analysis from SciStarter can help in understanding which projects cluster. Instruments can be made more discoverable, and project owners should also know about the type of instruments that are available in other projects.
Getting It Right or Being Top Rank: Games in Citizen Science
Marisa Ponti* – University of Gothenburg; Thomas Hillman – University of Gothenburg; Christopher Kullenberg – University of Gothenburg; Dick Kasperowski – University of Gothenburg. The study looks at the tension between science and games in citizen science. They look at Foldit and Galaxy Zoo. Assuming difference in the characteristics – they’ve done qualitative data in the Foldit forum and galaxy forum. Look for threads, and identified 15 threads (384 posts) in Foldit and 5 (189) in Galaxy zoo. The analysis identified 8 themes – they found the community appear a lot in Foldit more than galaxy zoo, while Foldit felt close. In games, there are issues with views that are concerned with community, cheating, and competition in Galaxy Zoo. In Foldit there are issues of fairness, and the scoring is concerned with a design that helps the scientific outcomes. There are mixed feeling about competition and sharing – they feel guarded and protective about the best technique. Galaxy zoo – we’re part of a great science project, not a game.. In Foldit, the chance of finding a real solution or getting lucky, but many are there for the game. Implications: important of implicit normative ideals of the science of participants; opposition between equality and meritocracy (Foldit); problematization of the dualism science vs game – but participants don’t necessarily accept it.
Another session was Breaking Down Walls to Science Practice
The Challenges of Being a Citizen Researcher (‘Uh, Who Are You Exactly and Who Are You With???’) Ed Harris – Scleroderma Education Project Ltd. Pointed the issue of credentials and there are problems in the medical field. He pointed to the experience of presenting a poster at a conference. Without credentials it is very difficult to get into a medical conference – even in a rare case where enough expertise are demonstrated, you can be denied entering the conference. But, sometimes ignorance is an advantage – for example, Ed contacted top journal editors with advice on a poster that he presented, something that his academic collaborators found surprising as it is “not to be done”. Unless you are not connected to a university you don’t have access to the actual article because of copyright restrictions. Need to find a way to convince publishers to allow specific individuals to access material. If you established expertise before the “who are you”, you consider better, but then if you try to lead, you get into problems, especially in the medical field. With credentials, suddenly things became easier.
Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy
Aletta Bonn* – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Aletta covered the outcomes from the ECSA conference. Citizen science can have high innovation potential – in social, political, environmental, environmental. She covered the policy process – from agenda citizen science to analysis of different projects. In almost 50% thought that they can provide an impact on policy – they can provide data, expertise, new questions, setting agenda. For example, the CHEST platform allows the development of new ways to fund and promote citizen science projects. There is also a role for citizen science in policy implementation and evaluation – so we can see innovations in working together with environment protection agency. There is a need to understand the areas in which citizen science is suitable. There are issues with innovation in open hardware and issues about potential data sources. In how citizen science is done is providing different view – the main wish is to see the data available publicly for other users – want to see people using it. We have ways of identifying good citizen science, with the ten principles of citizen science. The wider context is the awareness to responsible research and innovation, and the need to increase awareness of science with and for society.
Mark2Cure: Learn, Work, Help
Max Nanis – The Scripps Research Institute. People who contribute are doing that for very personal goals and allow people to contribute by annotating biomedical text.
Floodcrowd: Sharing Observations of Floods to Help Research Their Causes and What We Can Do About Them
Avinoam Baruch – Loughborough University – if everyone that seen a flood shared it, we can have the ability to address them better. Citizen science through floodcrowd.co.uk helps people record observations – using different observations from different systems.
City Nature Challenge
Alison Young – California Academy of Sciences – the City Nature Challenge is about linking cities around the world and carrying out activities using iNaturalist and collecting data for it – doing it in April over 5 days. Over 125,000 observation in 5 days, many new species that were never recorded. More than 4000 people participate, of which over half are new to iNaturalist. The 2017 City Nature Challenge.
Doing-it-Together Science: Amplifying & Cross-Pollinating Citizen & DIY Science in Europe
Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association – described the DITOs project and its goal. During her presentation, she asked people to tweet why they are coming together in the conference