Crowd sourcing water quality data: citizen science and low cost sensor technologies for water flows and ecosystems

Crowd sourcing water quality data: citizen science and low cost sensor technologies for water flows and ecosystems

Thu, 29/05/2014 - 13:30 to 14:30

About the Presenter

Hans van der Woerd is a senior scientist at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and his research focuses in the general field of Remote Sensing of the environment with emphasis on aquatic optics.

Hans has a PhD in astrophysics and worked as a postdoc for the European Space Agency (ESA). Hans also worked for the Dutch national environmental research institute (RIVM) on satellite observations of atmospheric composition.


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Dr Hans van der Woerd is visiting CSIRO Land and Water (Canberra) from April to October to work on the European project Citclops. This project aims to develop systems to retrieve and use data on colour, transparency and fluorescence of surface waters, using low-cost sensors combined with people acting as data carriers, contextual information (e.g. georeferencing) and a community-based Internet platform. Citclops’s monitoring system can be used to create a volunteer-based data-gathering near inland, estuarine and coastal waters.

Methods are being developed to rapidly capture the optical properties of seawater, e.g.: colour through Forel-Ule observations, and transparency through a variant of the Secchi disc. People will be able to acquire data taking photographs of inland waters, the sea surface on ferries or other vessels, on the open sea or from the shore.

User engagement by participatory science, together with capacity building and training, is a way to reach a broader water community. Already Earth observation makes significant contributions to improved decision-making, but more information is needed to support day-to-day operational decisions on how to manage water flows and ecosystems.

This seminar will explore how a Smartphone approach to water quality could lead to indigenous involvement in water quality assessment, especially in remote regions of Australia.

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