WeObserve: An Ecosystem of Citizen Observatories for Environmental Monitoring

Moorthy I, Fritz S, See L, Wehn U, Hemment D, Pau JM, Tsertou A, Vohland K, et al. (2018). WeObserve: An Ecosystem of Citizen Observatories for Environmental Monitoring. In: European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, 9-13 April 2018, Vienna, Austria.

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Abstract

The last decade has witnessed a rise in the field of citizen science which can be described as a collaborative undertaking
between citizens and scientists to help gather data and create new scientific knowledge. In the EU, efforts
have been channeled into developing the concept of Citizen Observatories (COs), which have been supported via
the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) and continue to be funded in Horizon 2020. COs, often supported by innovative
technologies including Earth Observation (EO) and mobile devices, are the means by which communities
can monitor and report on their environment and access information that is easily understandable for decision
making. To improve the coordination between existing COs and related citizen science activities, the WeObserve
project tackles three key challenges that face COs: awareness, acceptability and sustainability. The WeObserve
mission is to create a sustainable ecosystem of COs that can systematically address these identified challenges and
help move citizen science into the mainstream. The WeObserve approach will apply several key instruments to
target, connect and coordinate relevant stakeholders. The first is to develop and foster five communities of practice
to strengthen the current knowledge base surrounding COs. Topics will include citizen engagement, the value
of COs for governance and CO data interoperability. In co-creating this knowledge base, CO practitioners will
have a platform to effectively share best practices and avoid duplication. Secondly, the project will expand the
geographical reach of the knowledge base to different target groups via toolkits, a Massive Open Online Course
(MOOC), capacity development roadshows and an Open Data Exploitation Challenge, to strengthen the uptake of
CO-powered science by public authorities and SMEs. A third mechanism will forge links with GEOSS and Copernicus
to demonstrate how COs can complement the EU’s Earth Observation monitoring framework. This paper
will describe these various mechanisms and issue a call to bring together diverse stakeholders who share a joint
(practice-oriented) interest in citizen science. The WeObserve consortium brings together the current H2020 COs
(Ground Truth 2.0, GROW, LandSense, Scent) who will actively open up the citizen science landscape through
wide ranging networks, users and stakeholders, including ECSA, GEOSS and Copernicus to foster social innovation
opportunities. The WeObserve approach and outcomes have the potential to create a step-change in the Earth
Observation sector and make COs a valuable component of Earth system science research to manage environmental
challenges and empower resilient communities.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 08:36
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2018 08:36
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/15219

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