Citizen Science is the way for the general public to collaborate with researchers and scientists to reach common goals. Generally, a citizen scientist has already a curious mind and shows an interest in the natural phenomena that occur daily. With the help of a camera or a mobile phone and the variety of social media platforms, everyone is facilitated in taking and sharing pictures/video. These data can be very helpful to scientists as in many cases they are good documentations of natural phenomena.
Typically, the public involvement is in data collection and reporting. In fact, having many observers scattered in a region or around the world increases the amount of data that scientists, who are in a much smaller group, would not be able to collect. Indeed, all the data before being used for analyses need to be verified and quality checked by those who have the relevant knowledge and competence, hence it is important to ensure that the data from the “citizen scientists” are conveyed to the right people.
The IMS-GIS data centre has been supporting Falklands Conservation in two citizen science projects: one promoting the data collection of notable plant species and the other involving the public in seaweeds identification.
The use of mobile applications for data collection and reporting is a very common practice in citizen science projects. In the Falkland Islands the IMS-GIS data centre has been promoting the use of Open Data Kit (ODK) which is a free and open-source software for collecting, managing and using data in resource-constrained environments, such as the remote Falklands.
An how to use ODK guide has been prepared to help people in downloading the ODK app and forms on their mobiles.