What tools and technologies can power new frontiers for citizen science?

At SciStarter, we’re see exciting new citizen science opportunities with the development of new online tools and platforms. We’re trying to understand and map out the useful features of different platforms, and know that many of you have questions, experiences, and insights about this topic as well. Over the next few days, we’re interested in your thoughts on the software tools you’ve tried and the tools you’re dreaming about.

With your help, we are brainstorming a list of software tools, platforms and sensors for citizen science. Please join the week-long discussion hosted on Cornell’s Citizen Science Community Forum and tell us about the software tools you are using, plan to use, or think should be used. This may include software specifically created to support citizen science projects or custom tools you are developing or are aware of. Your contributions will help build a list of ideas for others to consider, and help support research about these tools*.

Some questions we ask you to consider:

Project organizers:
If you are launching a new project, what sorts of technical resources do you have at your disposal (e.g. access to server space, developer time)?
Would needing such resources pose a barrier?
How well have existing platforms been able to support your projects? What additional tools or features would you find helpful?
What strategies have you found to be most useful in recruiting participants, motivating them and keeping them engaged? Are there particular technologies that support these strategies?

Software and hardware developers:
What tools, platforms, sensors can or should be leveraged to improve citizen science projects?
How have you attempted to incorporate or repurpose such tools, platforms or sensors?

Citizen scientists:

What tools and features would you like to see used to advance your citizen science activities?

Join the discussion: What tools and technologies are powering new frontiers for your citizen science projects?

Thank you!

*With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we are working with Azavea, a geospatial software engineering firm, to evaluate a representative set of online citizen science software tools, but we need your help to identify that set of tools. The evaluation effort will analyze existing online citizen science tools and platforms for their technology, extensibility, visualization, and engagement features in order to better understand their ability to support a diverse and growing catalog of citizen science projects. The results of this research will be made available to the public as a report in January 2013.

Categories: Citizen Science


About the Author

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier is a Professor at Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter. She is also the founder of Science Cheerleader, an organization of more than 300 current and former professional cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers, and a cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology, a network of universities, science centers, and think tanks that produces public deliberations to enhance science policymaking. She is a founding board member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences "Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning" committee. She is the author of The Science of Cheerleading and co-editor of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science, published by Arizona State University. Darlene holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania and was a high school, college and NBA cheerleader. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children.