Within the WeObserve Project 29 reports are foreseen. These documents reflect the project and the currently running COs results and are written and reviewed by the project experts. As soon as the documents are officially released the public project reports will be provided on this section.
Kick-off summary and detailed project plan
The primary mission of the WeObserve project, officially launched in December 2017, is to move citizen science into the mainstream by building a sustainable ecosystem of citizen observatories and related activities. The WeObserve consortium brings together the current H2020 COs (Ground Truth 2.0, GROW, LandSense, Scent) to actively open up the citizen science landscape through wide ranging networks, users, and stakeholders, including ECSA, GEOSS, and Copernicus, to foster social innovation opportunities. This report summarizes the discussions and activities undertaken during the kick-off meeting on December 12-13, 2017 in Laxenburg, Vienna. In addition to the meeting agenda, key outcomes are also described that will help guide the successful implementation of the project.
WeObserve data management plan
As a Coordination and Support Action (CSA), WeObserve is part of the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data (ORD) Pilot. The ORD Pilot aims to improve and maximise access to and reuse of research data generated by Horizon 2020 projects. As a requirement of the ORD Pilot, this prohect report provides the initial WeObserve Data Management Plan (DMP) for the first period of the project (18 months), describing the life cycle of the data collected, processed and generated. The deliverable provides an overview of the type of data collected within WeObserve and the plans to facilitate potential reuse of the data while addressing FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles. This project report is intended to be a living document that will be updated throughout the lifetime of the project, whenever significant changes arise, e.g., when data sets are added or there are changes in the project that affect the management of the data.
EU Citizen Observatories Landscape Report - Frameworks for mapping existing CO initiatives and their relevant communities and interactions
Citizen Observatories, which invite the public to contribute observations, data and information to community-based environmental monitoring programmes, can play an important role in crucial areas such as climate change, sustainable development, air monitoring, flood and drought monitoring, land cover or land-use change.
Amongst the benefits of Citizen Observatories are that these contributions can be used to complement authoritative, traditional in-situ and r30/07/2018emote sensing Earth Observation data. Citizen Observatories can also provide new data sources for policy-making, and they can result in increased citizen participation in environmental management and governance at a large scale.
With the increasing prevalence of Citizen Observatories globally, there have been calls for a more integrated approach to handling their complexities, and to sharing crucial knowledge for the design and management of stable, reliable and scalable Citizens’ Observatory programmes. Answering this challenge in the European context, the Horizon 2020-funded project WeObserve aims to improve coordination between existing Citizen Observatories and related European activities, while tackling three key challenges that inhibit the mainstreaming of citizen science: Awareness, Acceptability, and Sustainability.
Systematically tackling these challenges first requires the aggregating, building and strengthening of the Citizen Observatory knowledge base. The first step in doing so is to map the EU landscape to identify the existing Citizen Observatory networks and their associated ecosystems and stakeholders, in order to gain insights into the development, operation and challenges facing Citizen Observatories in Europe.
This Landscape Report forms the first part of this dynamic exercise to establish the frameworks for describing and comparing Citizen Observatories in Europe (D2.1 – Frameworks), a follow-up Landscape Report that Maps the Citizen Observatories in Europe (D2.1 – An Overview of COs in Europe), and the final Landscape Report in Month 24 of the project (D2.4 – The Landscape of COs in Europe).
Detailed terms of reference and guidelines for WeObserve Communities of Practice
Citizen Science (CS) is on the rise worldwide. In the EU, efforts in the area of CS have been channelled into developing the concept of Citizen Observatories (COs). COs are the means by which communities can monitor and report on their environment and access information that is easily understandable for decision making. To capitalize upon and consolidate these ongoing efforts, the WeObserve consortium aims to bring together the current set of European Horizon 2020 (H2020) COs, enabling improved coordination between these COs and promoting related activities at the regional, European and international level. WeObserve will coordinate and deliver a much needed CO knowledge framework to avoid duplication, share best practices as well as identify barriers and synergies. Ultimately, WeObserve seeks to move citizen science into the mainstream by building a sustainable ecosystem of citizen observatories and related activities.
As a key mechanism for consolidating the knowledge inside as well as beyond the WeObserve consortium, WeObserve Task T2.2 is launching and coordinating dedicated Communities of Practice (CoPs). This document outlines the Terms of Reference and the Guidelines for the ways of working for the CoPs. It specifies, inter alia, incentives to participate in the CoPs, guiding principles and tools, CoP responsibilities, and a timeline including a launch event. WeObserve will launch an initial set of three CoPs:
- CoP1: Co-creating citizen observatories and engaging citizens (led by IHE Delft);
- CoP2: Impact and value of citizen observatories for governance (led by IHE Delft);
- CoP3: Interoperability and standards for citizen observatories (led by CREAF).
Compared to existing efforts and networks in the area of Citizen Science, the WeObserved CoPs provide a clear structure for managing CoP activities, a set of tools for leading the CoPs, and funds to enable member participation. The WeObserve CoPs will also receive assistance in dissemination and outreach activities and use a common set of rules for ensuring IP protection and reputation. This increases the chances of creating value to participants in the CoPs, and to stakeholders in and outside the WeObserve consortium.
WeObserve COP Mid Term Progress Report
One of the key objectives of WeObserve is to assess the current CO knowledge base and strengthen it to tackle future environmental challenges using CO-driven science. WeObserve Task T2.2 has launched four Communities of Practice (CoPs) as a key mechanism for consolidating the knowledge inside as well as beyond the WeObserve consortium. The key role of the CoPs is to serve as the vehicle for sharing information and knowledge on selected key thematic topics related to COs, strengthening the knowledge base about COs in order to move citizen science into the mainstream of environmental management and decision making.
The first three WeObserve CoPs were set up and launched during workshops at the ECSA conference 2018, on 6 June in Geneva (immediately following the main ECSA conference). The fourth CoP was launched at a dedicated session at the conference ‘Citizen Observatories for Water Management’ on 29 November 2018.
This report presents the current status of the WeObserve CoPs, reporting on their launch events, respective thematic focus, work plans and progress to date. The report also takes stock of lessons learned from running these CoPs and how the WeObserve has responded to challenges related to CoP members’ fluxes in participation.
All four WeObserve CoPs have formed stable groups of practitioners, with a clear focus on their respective themes, but the overarching aim of the WeObserve CoPs to consolidate knowledge dispersed across various stakeholders is not completely met and will require additional efforts to engage different stakeholder types.
A continuous discussion in the CoPs from their launch workshops in Geneva (June 2018) till the Forum in Venice (November 2018) has related to the definition of terms in general and the distinction of Citizen Science and Citizen Observatories in particular. At Forum #2, consensus was reached across CoPs on definitions of these key fundamental concepts. All four CoPs have contributed to creating this understanding of fundamental concepts and key terms. Moreover, the common glossary of terms the CoPs have produced is already a useful contribution to the wider community of CO and CS practitioners. As there is no ECSA glossary of terms, the WeObserve glossary presents a sound starting point and ECSA provides a perspective for maintaining this beyond the lifetime of the WeObserve project.
Several lessons have been learned regarding the set up and management of the CoPs, namely the careful preferential focus on small tasks, the joint production of scientific articles and usefulness of regular F2F meetings of the respective CoPs as means for ensuring the continued participation of the CoP participants. Resource constraints have affected the outreach activities of the different CoPs, hence limiting the wider dissemination of their results somewhat.
Update: EU landscape of existing citizen observatory initiatives/projects, associations and networks
Citizen Observatories (COs) are community-based environmental monitoring initiatives that invite the public to contribute observations, data and information in complement to authoritative, traditional insitu and remote sensing Earth Observation data. COs can play an important role in crucial areas such as climate change, sustainable development, air monitoring, flood and drought monitoring, land cover or land-use change. They can also provide new data sources for policy-making, and can result in increased citizen participation in environmental management and governance at a large scale.
With the increasing prevalence of COs globally, there have been calls for a more integrated approach to handling their complexities, and to sharing knowledge for the design and management of stable, reliable and scalable CO programmes. Answering this challenge in the European context, the Horizon 2020-funded project WeObserve aims to improve coordination between existing COs and related European activities, while tackling three key challenges that inhibit the mainstreaming of citizen science, namely: Awareness, Acceptability, and Sustainability.
This D2.4 Landscape Report frames the second part of a dynamic exercise to examine the three core challenges faced by these COs, and to consolidate the experience of a range of stakeholders into a set of recommendations for strengthening the ecosystem around COs in Europe.
WeObserve Policy Brief 1
The relevance of Citizen Science and Citizen Observatories has only recently been considered in GEO activities. In order to advocate its importance and significance, this policy brief summarises three key messages from the Lisbon Declaration for European policy makers and describes how best to connect and integrate Citizen Science communities as well as their activities and outputs into GEO.
WeObserve Policy Brief 2
This policy brief makes four specific recommendations to European and national funding bodies and policy makers for fostering an enabling environment that can contribute to the generation, execution and sustainability of Citizen Observatories and therefore maximise their impact.
WeObserve CoP Final Report
One of the key objectives of the WeObserve project is to assess the latest citizen observatory (CO) knowledge base and strengthen it to tackle future environmental challenges using CO-driven science. WeObserve Task T2.2 has launched four Communities of Practice (CoPs) as a key mechanism for consolidating the knowledge within as well as beyond the WeObserve consortium: Co-design & Engage, Impact CoP, Interoperability CoP and, SDG CoP.
The key role of the CoPs is to serve as the vehicle for sharing information and creating new knowledge on selected key thematic topics related to COs by bringing diverse CO and CS perspectives and experiences together. These fora have contributed to strengthening the knowledge base about COs in order to move citizen science into the mainstream of environmental management and decision making.
This report presents the status of the WeObserve CoPs at the end of the WeObserve project life time, reporting on progress to date, outputs and activities, CoPs Forums, and the sustainability of the CoPs. The report also takes stock of lessons learned from running these CoPs and how the WeObserve has responded to challenges related to CoP members’ flow in participation.
WeObserve Cookbook: Guidelines for creating successful and sustainable Citizens Observatories
In the EU, efforts in the area of CS have been channelled into developing the concept of Citizen Observatories (COs). COs are the means by which communities can monitor and report on their environment and access information that is easily understandable for decision making. To capitalise upon and consolidate these ongoing efforts, the WeObserve consortium aims to bring together the current set of European Horizon 2020 (H2020) COs, enabling improved coordination between these COs and promoting related activities at the regional, European and international level. WeObserve will coordinate and deliver a much-needed CO knowledge framework to avoid duplication, share best practices as well as identify barriers and synergies. Ultimately, WeObserve seeks to move citizen science into the mainstream by building a sustainable ecosystem of citizen observatories and related activities.
One of the key elements needed to facilitate access to consolidated knowledge about citizen science and Citizen Observatories is a ‘one-stop-shop’ or a ‘cookbook’ that synthesises the science of Citizen Observatories. Task T2.3 Synthesise the ‘Science of Citizen Observatories’ in a cookbook serves to capture lessons on best practices as well as the insights on the barriers for COs and how these can be addressed in a coherent online ‘Cookbook of Citizen Observatories. This Cookbook details strategies for stakeholder engagement and co-design of COs, capturing the impacts of COs, interoperability and standards, and incorporates emerging results from all the WeObserve Communities of Practices. In a dedicated part of the WeObserve online platform (weobserve.eu), the cookbook serves to guides users through available resources (e.g. methods, tools, papers) that provide insights and guidelines for creating successful and sustainable Citizens Observatories.
This report describes the steps taken to develop the online WeObserve Cookbook:
- Analysis of Cookbook target audience and requirements
- Development of a strategy for the online Cookbook
- Ddesign and development of the Cookbook
- Launch the WeObserve Cookbook online
WeObserve toolkits for building champion communities I
As Citizen Observatories expand in use and practice, the demand and creation of tools and toolkits that support the activity of this bourgeoning field follows suit. The emergence of new Citizen Observatories demonstrates the growing interest and needs for a way of working which invites citizens and other key stakeholders to play a key role in community-driven environmental monitoring. With this growth, there is an increasing demand for accessible approaches to support in these endeavours.
The notion of tools and toolkits are terms regularly seen in Citizen Science, and most used as aides to support monitoring protocols and guidelines. As distinctions between Citizen Science and Citizen Observatories are further considered, this report examines the role of tools and toolkits within both fields, and discusses the similarities and differences, and highlights the gaps for tools in Citizen Observation.
Furthermore, the report describes a collaborative process of inquiry which sought to gain insight from experts in various fields on the notion of toolkits in Citizen Observatories. The document recounts several targeted workshops that aimed to discuss the concept of toolkits in Citizen Science and Citizen Observation, and the development of a toolkit survey, which was co-created with the WeObserve Communities of Practice (CoP-Engage).
This report also presents the findings of the toolkit survey and presents an analysis of the toolkits collected. This is the first part in an exercise to establish toolkits which can be leveraged as part of the WeObserve consortium. Therefore, the conclusion of this document presents a plan for the next step of development and an outline for the follow-up deliverable which will details three toolkits delivered by WeObserve, and which leverages the tools created and developed within the consortium (D3.3 – WeObserve toolkits for building champion communities II).
WeObserve distance learning programme 1
WeObserve has developed a distance learning programme to facilitate the scaling of citizen observation communities and education. This course will introduce a powerful learning dimension to the CO ecosystem, and support the WeObserve project in accelerating and stimulating the uptake of the CO knowledge base.
This report provides an overview of the research and activity that developed the online learning course and the structure of the course itself. Within the course, learners will discover methods, protocols and guides for co-created citizen science experiments, and practical scientific skills necessary for partaking in, and starting their own citizen science projects.
As at the time of writing the report, the course expected to go live, this document does not provide an analysis of the course. The primary purpose of this document is to demonstrate how the course evolved and the collaborative working between the WeObserve partners, and is a summary of activity and the outline of the first iteration of the WeObserve online course.
WeObserve Toolkits For Building Champion Communities II
This project report builds on the work presented in D3.1 WeObserve Toolkits for building champion communities I. D3.1 presented the rationale, method, findings and analysis of a Citizen Observatories toolkit survey. This is the second part of activity in the development to establish toolkits which can be leveraged as part of the WeObserve consortium. The conclusion of this document presents the ongoing preparation of online resources and the release of three toolkits, which leverage the tools created and developed within the consortium. Furthermore, it provides a summary of the tools developed by H2020 COs including:
- how the process for developing and refining these categories took place
- how the tools are represented on the website
- ongoing preparation and future plans for uptake and sustainability, including promotion during the life of the project. and after the end of the project.
The aim is to position the WeObserve Toolkit for Champion Communities as a set of tested and validated tools that are developed, validated and accessible. The toolkit will allow replication and scaling and cover the four tool gaps reported by COs:
- Category 1: Co-designing your observatory
- Category 2: Training and data capture for environmental monitoring
- Category 3: Data quality and visualisation
- Category 4: Evaluation and advocacy
D3.3 provides a snapshot of the WeObserve Toolkit to date; ongoing development of this task resides in an online version of the Toolkit on the WeObserve website this living platform is where new tools will continue to be released and promoted as soon as they are available. In addition, a revised MOOC will run in Autumn 2020 featuring updated tools.
WeObserve Toolkits For Building Champion Communities II
WeObserve has developed a distance learning programme to facilitate the scaling of citizen observation whilst addressing diverse and inclusive participation. The field of citizen science is deservedly well recognised for engaging people and achieving scale for participation in
scientific inquiry. However, whilst programmes can support high numbers of data contributions from citizens, it is more difficult to achieve scale where highly collaborative or longitudinal participation is required, typified through the co-design approach frequently
adopted in COs. By sharing tried and tested methods and best practices, providing both tools and knowledge we aim to dramatically spread and scale training and support for citizens and communities. The programme has also aimed to connect local environmental issues with global challenges and objectives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), providing the means for citizens to better understand how to map and share observations and progress. WeObserve has built on the success of a recent Citizens’ Observatory (CO),
the GROW Observatory’s use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (Hemment et al., 2018a and 2018b), to reach and train thousands of people across the world without compromising the scientific robustness of protocols and content.
The WeObserve MOOC “Citizen Science Projects: How to Make a Difference” is a four week course that delivers a targeted learning journey in the area of environmental and citizen sensing. The first iteration of the course ran in November 2019. A second iteration will run in
autumn 2020, and there are plans to keep the course material available beyond the end of the funded project. The MOOC is a vehicle for training and shared learning that results in an active online community, contributing powerful learning, dissemination and capacity building dimensions to the CO ecosystem. Led by Work Package 3 ‘Accelerate’ and planned and 1 implemented within Task 3.2 ‘Deliver the WeObserve Citizen Observatories distance learning programme’, the MOOC ecosystem of people and knowledge supports the WeObserve
project in accelerating and stimulating the uptake of the CO knowledge base.
This report builds on WP3 Deliverable 3.2 ‘WeObserve Distance Learning Programme I’ (submitted in Month 23), an internal project report which outlines the research and development of the first MOOC. This report, Deliverable 3.4 ‘WeObserve Distance Learning
Programme II’ provides an evaluation of the first iteration of the course, insights gained, and a detailed plan for updating the content for the second iteration to include the latest tools developed by the Consortium to promote their uptake and dissemination. It makes several
contributions to the field as it builds on existing research into the use of MOOCs and analyses delivery of a course to present strengths and weaknesses that others may learn from. Furthermore, it outlines a proposal for advancing MOOCs as an engagement and training tool in CS and COs.
Citizen Observatories and GEO Community activities
The aim of the Task reported here (D4.1 – Citizen Observatories and GEO Community activities) is to incorporate the WeObserve ecosystem related initiatives into the GEO Work Programme. To address this Task, The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has included a Citizen Observatories (COs) and Crowdsourcing Community Activity within its 2017-2019 Work Programme. This activity serves to demonstrate the value of COs in supporting and complementing Earth Observation (EO) monitoring systems, including the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and Copernicus (the European Union’s space applications program).
This task will exploit the findings from the WeObserve communities of practice (CoPs) (T2.2) and place them within the GEO context to increase awareness and promote acceptability of environmental governance using participatory citizen science approaches. Furthermore, this task will demonstrate the value of COs to other in-situ communities in GEO. Some key aspects of the research strategy include:
- Engaging the WeObserve ecosystem of COs and citizen science communities to participate in GEOSS by providing an active forum in the GEO CO and Crowdsourcing community activity;
- Increase awareness of the citizen science activities within the rest of the GEO workplan and address potential synergies (e.g. GEOBON and GEOGLAM). Collect the requirements for COs from these monitoring systems and other research infrastructures to accept citizen observations as a quality-controlled data input;
- Share best practices (from WP2) for discovery and access to this kind of citizen-observed data through the GEOSS common infrastructure and GEOSS (including the Discovery and Access Broker and the new components coming from NextGEOSS);
- Strategies for implementing the GEOSS Data Management Principles in the CO community including the GEO label (in coordination with the relevant standards in Task 4.2)
Significant progress has been made to date in terms of incorporating WeObserve within the GEO Work Programme. First and foremost, there now exists a GEO Community Activity on Citizen Science which has been established and maintained over the past two years with strong support from WeObserve. Awareness has been raised through the strong networking efforts of the Activity, ranging from organized side events at GEO conferences, keynote presentations and relevant GEO meetings and technical meetings involving GEO members. In addition, liaison has been made between the various CoPs in WeObserve, their findings and GEO. The most recent findings will be provided in the updated Deliverable 4.3 – Citizen Observatories and GEO community activities.
Terms of reference of the standards relevant for Citizen Science, gaps and improvements
The most recognized standardization bodies producing standards used by the community are Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), ISO TC 211, W3C and IETF.
APIs don’t provide interoperability between server systems, in the sense standards do.
Standards available for each principle in the ten GEOSS DMP are enumerated:
- DMP-1: Discovery – OpenSearch provides a simple query language to query a search engine by free text. CSW is the main standard for catalogues.
- DMP-2: Online Access – We have the classical OGC web services family (WFS, WCS, WMS, WMTS). SOS is the appropriate service to use. WPS is a way to expose a geospatial analytical processing tool on the web. OPeNDAP is also a popular convention.
- DMP-3: Data Encoding – ISO 19109 provides what is called the General Feature Model. GeoJSON is another standard to encode features in JSON. Some observations can be also well represented in NetCDF. O&M allows fully describing sensor model. OGC has proposed a profile of O&M for CS (SWE4CS) that is ready to be used by CS projects. TimeSeriesML is a recent proposal to use time series in an easy manner.
- DMP-4: Data Documentation – ISO19115 is the metadata standard that everybody in the geospatial world is using. SensorML is a standard to describe the sensor used in a set of measurements.
- DMP-5: Data Traceability – ISO19115 provides a data model and XML encoding for lineage information. W3C PROV is the W3C to document provenance of web resources.
- DMP-6: Data Quality-Control – The geospatial data quality is described in the ISO19157.
- DMP-7: Data Preservation – Not much has been done to ensure preservation. The common practice is to transfer it to an archive. This practice is described in the OAIS.
- DMP-8: Data and Metadata Verification – Verification of integrity and authenticity is an aspect covered by OAIS (ISO 14721) and included in ISO 19165.
- DMP-9: Data Review and Reprocessing – Not aware of standards directly designed to do this. The use of WPS and provenance standards can help.
- DMP-10: Persistent and Resolvable Identifiers – DOI when data is stored in open repositories. Orcid assigns people an identifier. OpenID and SAML 2.0 provide standard ways to distributed authentication.
The content of this document will be complemented by the future deliverable D4.4 were some of the concerns and recommendations expressed in this document will be addressed by new Standards, Best Practices and Engineering Reports for Citizen Science.
Summary of WeObserve events, dissemination and communication activities
This is the public project report D5.2 Summary of WeObserve events, dissemination and communication activities of the H2020 project WeObserve. This is an accompanying report of actual activities that have taken place within the WeObserve project. This work was carried out as part of WP5 Dissemination, Communication & Outreach. This first edition of this document presents the communication & dissemination activities of WeObserve project up to M16.
During the first 16 months, and following the guidelines outlined in D5.1 DEC Strategy, Outreach and Operative Plan, WeObserve produced the project branding, while in parallel implemented the Knowledge Platform and established its main social media including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These activities were accompanied by the production of press releases about the various project activities, the creation of communication infrastructure (mailing lists) in the service of the Communities of Practice as well as the project’s newsletters’ subscribers list, and the design and development of dissemination materials (posters, banners, flyers) for the various WeObserve activities and events. Other activities carried out within this period include the launch of the Communities of Practice, organized in the framework of WP2 and a series of public presentations at national and international conferences and events.
Activities for the second period, i.e. M17-M36, will be included in the next version of this report which will be submitted by the end of M36.