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COBWEB; Facilitator of Citizen Science

Jamie Williams and Paul van Genuchten

(Submission #310)


This autumn, the four year EU funded COBWEB FP7 research project will finish. COBWEB, the Citizen OBservatory Web, led by the University of Edinburgh, aimed to collect, assess and distribute environmental information, by developing a generic crowdsourcing infrastructure platform. To demonstrate this, COBWEB used the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves as a testbed for this development. Within Biosphere Reserves in Greece, Germany and Wales, local citizen groups were invited to use COBWEB technology to facilitate the collection of citizen science data. With this participatory approach, the project gained valuable feedback, improving the technology offering, both for software and data standards.

The generic crowdsourcing infrastructure platform is primarily based on an open source software project called Fieldtrip Open, which allows users/you to create surveys as phone apps dynamically. This can then be used in the field by the participants to collect environmental observations. These observations, uploaded from the phone, are assessed by a configurable quality assurance workflow, based on the object management group (OMG) workflow standard BPMN to combine OGC WPS, and finally they are exposed, along with their metadata including data quality, as OGC (SOS/WFS/CSW) services as well as in a Linked Data format.

Additionally the project has developed an ontology called Sensor Web Enablement for Citizen Science (SWE4CS), which will be proposed as a best practice document for citizen science at OGC. This could also be a base for an INSPIRE best practice (or TG) for Citizen Science Data Sharing. COBWEB has engaged with the citizen science associations, helping define a citizen science metadata profile to exchange project metadata between portals. Finally, COBWEB is to produce recommendations related to considering privacy aspects, when designing a citizen science infrastructure including security and policies on anonymisation, aggregation and retention.


Topic Area:  [2.7] Citizen science/crowd sourcing
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional fields

Comments:   SWE4CS, quality assurance, citizen science data,

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