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Environmental monitoring with smartphones

The rapid development of smartphone technology in the last decade opens up new possibilities for scientific data collection. With a large portion of the population having a powerful computer in their pockets, it is up to the scientific community to make use of this untouched potential. The overall growing environmental awareness gives a strong basis for including the public into scientific processes.

The Citizen Science project “Environmental monitoring with smartphones: Participation in environmental research as a motivator for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and citizen participation” aims to develop a concept for an educational and participatory water monitoring mobile application. This app, named RiverMon, is being designed together with schools and associations in the Cologne area. It will include comprehensive learning materials as well as data entering and visualization options. The goal of this project is to create an engaging and user friendly learning environment on a smartphone that enables anyone to collect data and learn more about his local river ecosystem.

This project is a cooperation between the ITT and the University of Cologne (UzK) and is financed by the RheinEnergie Stiftung. The ITT working group is led by Prof. Dr. Lars Ribbe and the working group of the UzK by Prof. Dr. Karl Schneider, director of the universities geographical institute. The finalization of the project is planned for December 2017.

All collected data will be openly available with a sophisticated filtering system that enables the user not only to choose their data by time and parameters but also by the skill level of the person that executed the monitoring. This feature will ensure a certain level of quality control for researchers interested in utilizing the data. The long-term goal after the development of RiverMon is to implement it worldwide.

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