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Citizen Empowered Science and crowdsourcing in geosciences (co-organized)
Convener: Rémy Bossu  | Co-Conveners: Pierre-Philippe MATHIEU , Bernhard Höfle , Norman Kerle 
 / Wed, 30 Apr, 10:30–12:15
 / Attendance Tue, 29 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Over the last decade, rapid advances in ICT, computing and communication technologies (e.g. internet, smartphones, social networks), have enabled non-specialists to participate in truly scientific endeavours. This so-called “Citizen Science” supports societal applications and has now taken many shapes, for example, it created new ways to fully exploit satellite data to make real science.

A pioneering project was “SETI@Home”, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life.
Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in “”, or to track Solar Storm through “”.

Looking back at our planet, citizen scientists can make observations of biodiversity to support validation of satellite vegetation map reporting through the “” portal. They can also use their smartphone to improve situation awareness after a disaster by contributing with geolocated pics or sharing testimonies. A new field has also emerged aiming at obtaining insight from Internet-based information that is originally intended for other purposes.
For example, social network harvesting during incident falls in this category.

In particular, crowdsourcing and volunteered geographic information (VGI) collection by e.g. citizen scientists is an emerging field in GIScience and remote sensing to create reference data sets, to train models and to enrich automated mapping results. Most developments in this field rely on densely built-up areas i.e. cities and concentrate on mapping of infrastructures and buildings, though also distributed contributions (collaborative mapping, or remote sensing analysis by distributed experts) are increasingly common. There is a large potential making use of this new kind of participatory approach in the field of Geoscience e.g. to improve mapping and monitoring of natural environments, natural hazard consequences, and to better understand landscape dynamics.

Recognizing the growing importance of Citizen Science as a new paradigm in research, and the fantastic and unique opportunity to tap into the enormous passion and good will of a wide community of citizens, this session will provide an overview of various citizen science activities, highlighting their scientific & societal value, strengths and weaknesses across communities.It will also cover communication aspects: how to attract and engage with the Citizens, what does it change in communicating with the public, what are the other potential benefits such as crowdfunding or how such projects can end-up in innovative educational and communication tools by bringing science closer to society.