Archive for the ‘Computers & Technology’ Category

‘Tis the Season! 12 Days of Christmas with Citizen Science

By December 23rd, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Comment

Photo: John Ohab
12 Days of Christmas
The holiday season is upon us! In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together another edition of our ever popular annual 12 Days of Christmas Newsletter.

The SciStarter Team

On the 1st Day of Christmas, Treezilla gave to me:
A measuring tape around a pear tree, as I measured and mapped the trees of Great Britain. Get started!

On the 2nd Day of Christmas, iSTOR gave to me:
Two reports of sea turtles, from citizen scientist observers worldwide. Get started!

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6 Ways to Be a Citizen Scientist From the Comfort of Your Couch

By December 10th, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Comment

Take a break from online shopping and sharpen that brain by contributing a few minutes to science. Below, our editors present six projects in need of your help.
(And really, you know you’re going to abandon that online shopping cart, anyway!)


Visit the SciStarter Project Finder for 1100 more opportunities and join our community to learn more about new projects near you!


Some people seem to age faster than others. You can add to our knowledge of aging by guessing how old people are, based on their photos, or uploading your own images to be put to the test.
Get Started!


Purposeful Gaming
To preserve important historical texts, documents are scanned and then made available to you for online transcription. This project uses gaming to make the task fun and to establish consensus transcriptions.


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Putting Your Data to Work With myObservatory

By December 9th, 2015 at 6:46 am | Comment


Editor’s Note: myObservatory is a SciStarter advertiser but had no editorial input or control over this blog post.

by Kristin Butler

When I attended the Citizen Science Association’s first national conference in San Jose earlier this year, I noticed a recurring theme: while there has been an explosion in the collection of data by volunteers across the globe, researchers are still challenged to find the time and resources to organize, analyze, understand, and share all that data.

Helping people use technology to make their data meaningful is the idea behind myObservatory, an information management system platform that allows users to collect, check, analyze, and share data.

The small company was founded in 2007 by Yoram Rubin, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley who has a passion for conserving natural resources. Read the rest of this entry »

How Fast is Your Carrier? Crowdsourcing Mobile Network Quality with OpenSignal

By November 23rd, 2015 at 6:00 am | Comment

Global map of cell phone network coverage uploaded by OpenSignal users in 24 hours (Credit: OpenSignal)

Global map of cell phone network coverage uploaded by OpenSignal users in 24 hours (Credit: OpenSignal)

Interested in citizen science you can do on your phone? Check out these cool projects on SciStarter that let you contribute valuable data to research via cell phone apps!

by Nina Friedman

I was on a call with Teresa Murphy-Skorzova, Community Growth Manager for OpenSignal, an app that uses crowd-sourcing to aggregate cell phone signals and WiFi strength data throughout the world. Teresa began to explain how OpenSignal maps signal strength and how this process contrasts the way cell phone networks map it. “We aren’t following a pre-determined route like they are; we measure the amount of time a user has coverage, not the …” The connection becomes fuzzy. “Can you repeat that?” I ask.

Teresa wonders if my latency connection (a metric used to measure mobile data connection quality) is poor. She explains that while cell phone networks like Verizon and AT&T measure the percent of the population that usually has coverage, OpenSignal is “measuring the experience of the user,” mapping signals from the devices themselves in real time. Individuals record their connection as they go about their day. The app recognizes that people and their cell phone devices are, well… mobile. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Up for an Innovation Challenge?

By August 17th, 2015 at 9:00 am | Comment


Guest post by Carrie Freeman

In the new world of Big Data, we’ve learned how to acquire great data, but we’re still struggling with accessing it, understanding it, and putting it to work. That’s especially true with environmental data, where the urgency of problems facing people right now is driving efforts to turn raw digital input into information leading to concrete solutions.

One global group, the Eye on Earth Alliance, is addressing that problem directly by convening the Eye on Earth Summit 2015 and organizing the related Data Innovation Showcase. As a competition intended to spark fresh thinking about how to use data, the Showcase is calling for entries from citizen scientists—professionals, too—and from artists who have a brilliant idea for applying publicly accessible data to solving environmental challenges. But time is running out—entries must be submitted online by August 20, 2015. Winners get a free trip to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to participate in the summit (October 6–8), which will focus on informed decision-making for sustainable development. Read the rest of this entry »