Speak Your Mind

Speak Your Mind: Citizen Science on a Smartphone

I recently got a smartphone for the first time, and, of course, now have the capability to do apps. Of these, my favorite so far have been the Project Noah and the Galaxy Zoo applications. Project Noah allows me to take pictures of animals and plants I see around me, upload them to the site, and identify them, for two purposes. One, I can figure out what the native wildlife is where I live, and two, the site and scientists can keep an inventory of what animals and plants are being sighted where. This allows for population studies over time, and there are many specific projects that people can help with, such as the Waterbirds of the World project. It’s very simple to use as well; take a picture or two of the critter on the phone, upload it to the app, fill in whatever information is known, use the GPS to mark the location, and that’s it. And if I don’t know what something is, I just say so, and other users and scientists can help me identify it. It’s a whole virtual, ever-changing field guide.

Sometimes, though, I just want brain-crack, and the Galaxy Zoo app provides on that. The interface on the smartphone is very similar to that on the website. You get a picture of a galaxy, and a bunch of options to describe that galaxy. Click on the best fit, and continue until you’ve filled out all the information for that photo. Then repeat. It’s very easy to lose track of time on this app, so it’s as useful as Angry Birds for killing time. Except, you’re doing science as well.

What citizen science projects to you participate in? Do you prefer to use smartphone apps or webpages? What fields or types of citizen science projects do you think are lacking? What other science apps should I install?

If you’re looking for other citizen science opportunities, there’s a lot more listed at our Resources page.

Featured Image from EcoActive

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Ali Marie

Ali Marie

Ali Marie is a recent Master's of Education graduate, and is now venturing back into the world of non-traditional education, as an outreach program leader at a children's museum. Her interests vary widely, but include board games, music, dinosaurs, and science as a whole.

You can find Ali on Twitter, @ascientifica.

1 Comment

  1. February 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm —

    Just got Project Noah. I also recommend Google Sky, which will identify stars and planets that you point your phone at.

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