Citizens' Observatories are community-based environmental monitoring and information systems. They build on innovative and novel Earth observation applications embedded in portable or mobile personal devices. This means that citizens can help and be engaged in observing our environment.
Some recently kicked-off EU-funded projects are helping to show the huge potential of an active citizen observatory and validate this concept under real life conditions. The focus of these innovative activities is on enhancing the management of our natural resources, especially land cover and land use issues, through more collaborative approaches.
Representatives from the projects met recently in Brussels to look for synergies, avoid unnecessary overlapping of activities, seek further opportunities for common activities and learn about best practices and challenges from Citizens' Observatories projects funded under previous programmes.
Meet four of them:
Ground Truth 2.0: Environmental knowledge discovery of human sensed data
This project is delivering the demonstration and validation of six scaled-up citizen observatories in real, operational conditions, with four European (Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden) and two African (Kenia and Zambia) demonstration cases.
Ground Truth 2.0 focuses on environmental indicators in urban and rural areas related to spatial planning issues, with a specific focus on flora and fauna as well as water availability and water quality for land and natural resources management. This is supported by an innovative web-based service for worldwide mapping and updating of land use.
Follow them on Twitter @GroundTruth20
LANDSENSE: A Citizen Observatory and Innovation Marketplace for Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring
LANDSENSE is building an innovative citizen observatory in the field of Land Use Land Cover (LULC), which collects data both actively (through citizens) and passively (from authoritative, and open access sources) and integrates them to provide valuable quality-assured in-situ data for SMEs, larger businesses, government agencies, NGOs and researchers.
Follow them on Twitter @LandSense
SCENT aims to develop a smart toolbox for engaging citizens into a people-centric observation web. Making use of various methods, including serious gaming, the project will implement two demonstration cases Kifisos river in Attica (Greece) and Danube delta (Romania). The first one will focus on river basin management and the second on floods risk management through preservation of ecosystems by developing floods modelling incorporating citizens’ retrieved information.
Follow them on Twitter @SCENT_EU
The GROW Observatory aims to underpin smart and sustainable ownership of land and soil, whilst meeting the demands of future food production. To achieve this goal data will be collected: soil moisture time series, temperature, weather forecast, among others. This will also help to forecast and prepare for climate events, such as heat waves and floods, by validating the detection of soil moisture from satellites.
Follow them on Twitter @growobservatory