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provide information on free geospatial tools for citizen science

To increase engagement with the Citizen Scientist community, provide information on free geospatial tools that are available for download. Similar to here, http://www.ncgisconference.com/2013/documents/pdfs/Newcomb_Fri_130.pdf Providing overviews of the software, platform availablity, capabilities,etc for GRASS GIS, QGIS, Saga GIS, metadata tools and open data formats to use when interacting with DOI personnel could positively increase participation by Citizen Scientists with DOI activities.

Submitted by Doug Newcomb 9 months ago

Comments [2]

  1. Moderator

    Interesting. I hadn't thought of this. Although...I'm not sure the Department is well-positioned to provide this sort of information on an ongoing basis. I would think that if people are good enough with technology to know that there *are* open source GIS options, they also understand how to comb the internet for the info they need.

    I'd like to know more about the base problem, though -- why do we want to increase engagement with the citizen scientist community? Is there a specific goal you have in mind? I personally feel like it is a Good Thing, but I also feel that open source GIS software might not be the way to get more people involved in DOI science. Things like Zooniverse seem to work well; getting people to download and run GIS software is much harder. I would rather work on making our data and projects more accessible to projects like Zooniverse and have people interact that way. But I'm curious about what you're thinking: tell me more!

    By the way, I really like the slide on 'do I need to do metadata' in your example PDF. (For those who didn't click through, the answer is "only if you want people to take you seriously", ha). Whether or not we make this a broader initiative, I think we need to get your presentation out of PDF into a machine-readable format -- you have some really great explanations and info in there! Could we make it at least blog post on citizen science/open data tips?

    8 months ago
  2. Doug Newcomb Idea Submitter

    Michelle, I can send the open document format (.odp , created in libreoffice) version of the document , do you have a preferred email address?

    I think Zooniverse and similar web-based data collection/analysis projects are great innovations in cooperative science that can whet the intellectual appetite for exploring and observing the world around you!

    With these connections between citizen scientists and professional scientists, these projects are making investigational relationships. Over time, relationships tend to mature and the understanding of the subject matter of the citizen scientists will grow and they may wish to explore questions related to the data that they helped collect/organize. Will these websites still be working with their collaborators in the same way in 5-10 years? Will there be an opportunity for growth on both sides?

    There are not enough hours/manpower in the day to pursue all of the interesting geospatial scientific questions at any government agency.

    If the data is geospatially organized and freely available to download in an open data format, why not encourage activity by citizen scientists?

    As far as the software is concerned, there is a misperception that you have to spend a lot of money on hardware and software to do geospatial analysis. In my day job , I do geospatial analysis on a mixture of open source and proprietary software.

    My home computer has an 8 core 3.5 GHz processor with 24 GB of RAM and 2 x 2 TB drives. Buying the components and putting the computer in an existing case cost me about $500. The computer runs 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04 Linux with 64 bit GRASS GIS ( cost, $0). With this software and hardware, I was able to create a 6 billion cell seamless 20ft resolution elevation grid for the State of North Carolina using a different method than the original State grid from the same base data. It was a fun project!

    Admittedly, I would not be your standard citizen scientist. I have more geospatial training than most folks, but the tools are there for anyone to use, if they have the interest.

    8 months ago

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