EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Citizen science and crowdsourcing in the field of marine scientific research – the MaDCrow project

Paolo Diviacco1, Antonio Nadali2, Francesca Malfatti1, Massimiliano Iurcev1, Rodrigo Carbajales1, Alessandro Busato1, Alessandro Pavan1, Lorenzo Grio2, and Massimiliano Nolich3
Paolo Diviacco et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di geofisica Sperimentale, IRI - Infrastrutture, Sgonico, Trieste, Italy (
  • 2Transpobank Srl
  • 3University of Trieste

The Oceans cover 70% of the surface of our planet and contain 99% of the living space on the planet. Surveying the blue planet  is a very demanding and expensive activity since requires large infrastructures and trained personnels. Research  institutions, on the contrary, have very limited funding to perform their studies  so that the seas remain, still, mostly unexplored. This urges for  a bold step towards a new paradigm for marine data acquisition. MaDCrow (Marine Data Crowdsourcing) is a marine technology research and development project co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aiming  to create an innovative technological infrastructure for the acquisition, integration and dissemination of data on the marine ecosystem. This is coupled with the goal to increase  public awareness of environmental issues and in particular of climate changes as drawn within goal 13.1 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. MaDCrow sensors acquire Temperature, Salinity, pH and Oxygen data in real time. These are placed in ad hoc housing  that can be installed  on citizen’s  vessels . Data acquired are transmitted onshore, stored, processed and integrated with other information sources in order to provide end-users with an App- or web-site-based  clear picture of the status of the marine environment to address relevant social questions (e.g.: where is a good place to swim?; is there an oil spill?; are the seawater conditions good for aquaculture and fishery?) The main idea behind the project is to bridge the gaps among three actors who are mutually interdependent, namely: (I) Researchers, (II) Policy makers and (III) and the Citizens.

From the point of view of the scientific community, data acquisition by volunteers is a mechanism that has many advantages. It keeps costs low while at the same time generates large quantities of information. We will discuss the pros and the cons of MaDCrow approach and the future development of this multi-stakeholder initiative.

How to cite: Diviacco, P., Nadali, A., Malfatti, F., Iurcev, M., Carbajales, R., Busato, A., Pavan, A., Grio, L., and Nolich, M.: Citizen science and crowdsourcing in the field of marine scientific research – the MaDCrow project, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9030,, 2020


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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-9030, Demetris Koutsoyiannis, 04 May 2020

    I am copying a comment which I posted in Jan's presentation for your information. It may also be relevant here as you refer to "citizen science"


    Hi everybody!

    I have a comment for Jan’s presentation.

    You use the term “citizen” in the title. Somewhere in the text you write “ 'crowd' (citizen scientists)”, from which I understand you use the term “citizen scientists” as an equivalent for “crowd”.

    I have high respect for “citizens” and “scientists”. The two terms have very important yet quite different content and I cannot understand how you combine them.

    In particular, the first term is political, related to citizenship. According to Wikipedia, “Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.”

    So, what do you mean with “citizen scientists”? A crowd of scientists? A crowd of non-scientists? People wearing Citizen watches? :-) Or do you mean just people, or the general public?

    Sorry to be scholastic or pernickety with terminology but I believe we should be careful and also avoid to downgrade the notions of “citizenship” and “science” by hastily combining them.


    Demetris Koutsoyiannis