Constrained data acquisition for mobile citizen science applications

TitleConstrained data acquisition for mobile citizen science applications
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWhitsitt, S, Barreto, A, Hudson, M, Al-Helal, H, Chu, D, Didan, K, Sprinkle, J
Conference NameProceedings of the compilation of the co-located workshops on DSM’11, TMC’11, AGERE!’11, AOOPES’11, NEAT’11, & VMIL’11
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-1183-0
Keywordscitizen scientist, domain-specific modeling, iphone, mobile phone programming

The popularity and ubiquity of personal mobile computing devices–-coupled with their powerful sensing capabilities–-allow their application in the structured collection of data for societal benefit and science applications. Citizen scientists are willing users and active contributors to scientific research and applications, but if they gather data in an unconstrained or ad hoc manner, their efforts may be of little scientific value. In this paper, we present a user interface for a mobile device which is properly constrained to permit the gathering of valid scientific data. This helps to achieve the goal that any individual with a basic familiarity of the device (but not of the science) should be able to obtain useful data with little learning required. As a use case for this concept, we present a mobile application that allows users to collect location-stamped images to supplement satellite data for climate change research.