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Emergency Response


BeachObserver

When a vessel accidentally discharges cargo at sea, or when oil spills occur, or when plastics or any floating marine debris is cast adrift on the ocean, it will eventually arrive on shore. In most cases affected landowners, neighborhoods, small communities, or municipalities will be the first to notice the accumulation of flotsam and jetsam on local beaches. We have developed a mobile phone application to simplify the recording, mapping, and networking of observations. The app works anywhere but is tailored for wildlife and objects found on shore or near the coast. The main objectives of the project are to:
1) Promote citizen science,
2) Develop baseline data,
3) Analyze change over time,
by facilitating the recording, sharing, and networking of credible shoreline observations including wildlife, beach cast animals, and marine debris with geo-tagged observations and photos. The browser based app is available at www.beachobserver.com and is also available for download from iTunes.




Help Quito, Ecuador

Can you lend your expertise to assist the City of Quito, Ecuador to prepare for the likely eruption of the Cotopaxi Volcano situated 30 miles from Quito?

Cotopaxi is currently spewing ash. The last large-scale eruption was in 1877, and it is believed that another one is now inevitable. If it erupts, some communities will have less than half an hour to evacuate.

The scale of the challenge is overwhelming. Yet there are those of you out there with good ideas for how to mitigate the risks, especially using technology and innovation, or those of you who know others who have relevant experience, skills, and know how.

We want to ask you to participate in one or more of a series of online coaching sessions to help the city get smarter about how to prepare. Please, we need your help.

The goal of these online sessions is to:

Better define and understand the nature of the problem
Help connect those people with relevant experience and know how to city officials to help Quito better manage the impending disaster
Identify innovative and practical ways, especially using new technology, to tackle the challenge at hand
Result in at least 2-3 implementable ways per topic of doing things differently that could potentially save lives, save resources, and allow for money to be spent on what matters most.

Logistics:

Each session will run online from 11 am EST for 1.5 hours on a Monday or Thursday (see calendar below)
Each session will be attended by those city officials with responsibility for that topic, who will share background information about the current state of readiness.
Each session will be moderated by an expert in the field.
Each session will be staffed by volunteers who will take notes and follow up the session to develop good ideas into more concrete and actionable proposals backed up by research.




Geotag-X

Photos taken in disaster situations and other humanitarian crises by different people on the ground can potentially be a powerful resource for the response teams. In fact, the information we gain from these images can be crucial to provide humanitarian aid not only in the immediate response effort, but also in future recovery and preparedness work.

Unfortunately, the manpower needed to process the incredible number of photos coming out of these situations makes this duty impossible for a single organization. Therefore we are turning to the crowd and looking for volunteers to help us rapidly extract meaningful, relevant and structured data from these photos.

This is why we launched the GeoTag-X platform, which gathers a series of pilot projects (for example, the Emergency Shelter Assessment project) covering different disaster related events. GeoTag-X asks people to analyse the photographs associated with each event by answering some short and strictly structured questions.

Our final aim is to have an open source tool and associated analysis questions that can be taken by anyone working in an humanitarian crisis and quickly and easily adapted to their needs. To do so, we need as many volunteers as possible to help us assess GeoTag-X’s suitability as a tool in disaster response.




SENSR

SENSR is a tool to create, share and manage a citizen science project running on mobile devices to harness the power of citizen scientists.

SENSR provides a simple and easy way to obtain a custom data collection application running on mobile devices for your project.

If you are running a grassroots project for science, education, environmental conservation, community monitoring, or other reason, and are seeking ways to expand citizen scientists' participation in contributing data, SENR can help you create a mobile data collection tool for your project.

It is part of a research project at Carnegie Mellon University. Please try out if you are seeking ways to harness citizens' power of data collection.




Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps

The Senior Environment Corps (SEC) program engages volunteers mostly aged 55 and over. SEC volunteers are engaged in numerous activities from water quality monitoring, stream habitat assessment, storm-drain stenciling, environmental education, community gardening, wildlife surveying, marking abandoned oil and gas wells, and cleaning up parks and trails.

Since 1997, SEC volunteers in Pennsylvania have contributed over 2,000,000 hours, and their contribution is estimated to be of value to the state at over $3 million per year. Coming into 2014, SEC volunteers are active in 20 counties across Pennsylvania, and will soon be expanding into to more areas.




Watch the Wild

Watch the Wild™ needs your help. As a Watch the Wild™ volunteer, you observe and report the "wild" in your community, from trees and plants to lakes and streams to weather and wildlife activity. In as little as ten minutes, your observations help us to understand how our eco-systems are changing and helps us to adapt for the future. Your observations will be entered into a database and shared with interested scientists.




ISeeChange

ISeeChange is a socially networked weather Almanac for communities to collectively journal their climate experiences -- their observations, feelings, questions, and decisions --- against near-real time climate information.

This groundbreaking environmental reporting project combines citizen science, participatory public media, and cutting-edge satellite monitoring of environmental conditions.

Incubated in 2012 by producer Julia Kumari Drapkin at Colorado public station KVNF Mountain Grown Community Radio via AIR’s Localore project, iSeeChange is poised to expand in 2015. The team will work with media and scientific partners across the country to help audiences document environmental shifts in their backyards and connect to the bigger-picture climate changes transforming all of our lives and livelihoods.




AirCasting

AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, the AirCasting Android app, the AirCasting website, and wearable LED accessories. By documenting and leveraging health and environmental data to inform personal decision-making and public policy, the AirCasting platform empowers citizen scientists and changemakers.




Public Laboratory Balloon and Kite Mapping

This DIY mapping tool was the first developed by Public Lab, as part of the Grassroots Mapping project. Citizens use helium-filled balloons and digital cameras to generate high resolution “satellite” maps of areas such as in the Gulf Coast and Gowanus Canal. Although this tool has been in use for two years, components of the kit -- kite and balloon design, the rig, the camera -- continue to evolve as they are adopted in new places and adapted for new purposes. Besides the aerial mapping tools, Public Lab has also developed MapKnitter.org, an online tool for stitching aerial images into maps.




Public Laboratory Infrared Camera

Infrared photography can help in assessing plant health, and has been used on satellites and planes for agricultural and ecological assessment primarily by vineyards, large farms and large-scale (read: expensive) research projects. By creating and open-sourcing a low-cost near-infrared camera and working with wetlands advocates, farmers and environmental activists, the Public Lab community has begun to explore grassroots uses for this powerful analytic technique.




Did You See it?

"Did You See It?" is a new crowd sourcing initiative launched by the U.S. Geological Survey's Landslide Hazards Program to collect data about the occurrence of landslides within the United States.

Landslides are a serious geologic hazard common to almost every State in the United States.

The information will not only help scientists better understand the causes of landslides, possibly leading to improved disaster mitigation strategies, but also serve as public resource to educate citizens about potential risks in their communities.




Solar Storm Watch

You don’t have to be a science expert to be a brilliant solar stormwatcher. Help scientists spot explosions on the Sun and track them across space to Earth. Your work will give astronauts an early warning if dangerous solar radiation is headed their way. And you could make a new scientific discovery.

Explore interactive diagrams to learn out about the Sun and the spacecraft monitoring it. The STEREO spacecraft is scientists’ latest mission to study the Sun and space weather – not clouds and rain, but how solar storms change conditions in space and on Earth.

Solar Stormwatch isn't just about classifying data. You can talk to other members on our forum, sign up for our space weather forecast from Twitter, and learn about the latest discoveries on our blog. You can also see how solar storms affect Earth at our Flickr group Aurora chasers, featuring beautiful photos of aurora.

if you’d like to know more about what you’re looking at, then explore our beautiful and interactive zoomable diagrams to find out about the Sun and the STEREO spacecraft monitoring it. And check out our scientists’ profiles too.




MammalMAP

THE BROAD PICTURE: The aim of MammalMAP is to update the distribution records of all African mammal species. Through collaborations with professional scientists, conservation organisations, wildlife authorities and citizen scientists across Africa, we consolidate all reliable and identifiable evidence (camera trap records, photographs) of current mammal locations into an open-access digital database. The database software automatically generates online distribution maps of all recorded species which are instantly visible and searchable. The information consolidated within MammalMAP will not only yield crucial information for species conservation policies and landscape conservation policies, but provides an excellent platform for educating the public about African mammals and their conservation challenges.

WHY MAMMALMAP IS NECESSARY: In Africa, our knowledge of mammal distribution patterns is based largely on historical records. However, the last three centuries have seen extensive human-modification of African landscapes with the associated conversion, compression and fragmentation of natural land. With further land development presenting a likely reality for the future, the effectiveness of mammal conservation efforts depends on ecological records being updated so that they accurately reflect mammal distribution patterns in the 21st Century. With MammalMAP we plan to conduct these ecological updates over the coming years, by mapping the current distribution of mammal species (including marine mammals and small mammals) across Africa.

HOW MAMMALMAP CONTRIBUTES TO CONSERVATION: The conservation benefits of this research are multiple. First, the comparison of these updated distribution records with both historical and future records will enable the detection of species’ distribution changes in response to human-related and climate-related habitat changes. These change detections will assist the guidance of continent-wide conservation policies and decision making processes. Second, the research will promote and facilitate interdisciplinary and international collaboration amongst scientists and conservation practitioners, with potential benefits to the advancement of conservation science. Finally, both the project input stage (data collection) and output stage (data dissemination) will offer interactive, dynamic and widely applicable education tools suitable for both formal and informal education sectors.

THE WHERE AND THE HOW OF MAMMALMAP: The area of interest for MammalMAP is the whole of Africa. To achieve this we collaborate with scientists, conservation organisations, wildlife authorities and citizen scientists across the continent. Our methods involve consolidating evidence of mammal occurrence in a given location (camera trap records, photographs and other reliable records) into a digital database hosted by the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town. In time, we will use the records in the database to generate distribution maps for all recorded species, in the same way that the ADU has done for birds, reptiles, frogs and butterflies.




OpenSignalMaps

With your help, OpenSignalMaps is creating a comprehensive database of cell phone towers, cell phone signal strength readings, and Wi-Fi access points around the world. This data is collected via an Android application and uploaded to the project's servers, taking care to use as little processing power and battery life as possible.

You can use the project website to browse the data they've collected, including heat maps that show exactly how strong signal is in any particular area, as well as all the nearby towers for your carrier. And don't worry -- the data is stripped of any identifying information and available on a graphical interface to enable you to make sense of the raw data.




SKYWARN

SKYWARN is a national network of over 300,000 volunteer weather spotters that is managed by NOAA's National Weather Service. The spotters are trained by one of the 122 local National Weather Service Forecast Offices on how to spot severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, and flooding. In some parts of the country, spotters also report snowfall and ice accumulation.

During hazardous weather, such as severe thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, SKYWARN volunteers report what is happening at their location. They are asked to report whenever certain criteria are met such as when one inch of rain has fallen, four inches of snow is on the ground, a thunderstorm is producing hail, or trees have been blown down.




Quake-Catcher Network

The Quake-Catcher Network provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes.

The Quake-Catcher Network links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the world’s largest and densest earthquake monitoring system. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others.

The Quake-Catcher Network also provides a natural way to engage students and the public in earthquake detection and research. This project places USB-connectable sensors in K-12 classrooms as an educational tool for teaching science and a scientific tool for studying and monitoring earthquakes. Through a variety of interactive experiments students can learn about earthquakes and the hazards that earthquakes pose.

Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. Let's get to work!




The Twitter Earthquake Detection Program

The US Geological Survey's Twitter Earthquake Detection Program gathers real-time, earthquake-related messages from Twitter and applies place, time, and keyword filtering to gather geo-located accounts of shaking.

This approach provides rapid first-impression narratives and, potentially, photos from citizens at the hazard’s location. The potential for earthquake detection in regions that are populated but where seismic instruments are sparse is also being investigated.

Data from the project will support other earthquake projects that rapidly detect and report earthquake locations and magnitudes in the United States and globally. The Program will also determine the best way to broadcast scientifically confirmed earthquake alerts via Twitter.




Did You Feel It?

The Did You Feel It? (DYFI) project is designed to gather information available about earthquakes from the people who experience them. By tapping the immense number of users online, DYFI can get a detailed characterization of what people were experiencing, the impacts of the earthquake, and the amount of damage it incurred, beyond the scope traditional information gathering techniques. Data input from users is immediately available on the website, and its interactive platform encourages users to gain a deeper understanding of earth sciences while they participate.





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