KnoWare: A System for Citizen-based Environmental Monitoring

Jeremy J Storer, Joseph T. Chao, Andrew T Torelli, Alexis D Ostrowski
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 19  •  2016  •  pp. 125-139
Non-expert scientists are frequently involved in research requiring data acquisition over large geographic areas. Despite mutual benefits for such “citizen science”, barriers also exist, including 1) difficulty maintaining user engagement with timely feedback, and 2) the challenge of providing non-experts with the means to generate reliable data. We have developed a system that addresses these barriers. Our technologies, KnoWare and InSpector, allow users to: collect reliable scientific measurements, map geo-tagged data, and intuitively visualize the results in real-time. KnoWare comprises a web portal and an iOS app with two core functions. First, users can generate scientific ‘queries’ that entail a call for information posed to a crowd with customized options for participant responses and viewing data. Second, users can respond to queries with their GPS-enabled mobile device, which results in their geo- and time-stamped responses populating a web-accessible map in real time. KnoWare can also interface with additional applications to diversify the types of data that can be reported. We demonstrate this capability with a second iOS app called InSpector that performs quantitative water quality measurements. When used in combina-tion, these technologies create a workflow to facilitate the collection, sharing and interpretation of scientific data by non-expert scientists.
Citizen Science, Cell-phone Spectrometer, Water Contaminant Analysis, Web and Mobile Development, Visualization
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