Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Citizen Science

It has been awhile since I have written a review blog post and I thought I would do one on some of the Citizen Science projects available through Zooniverse.

I stumbled across Zooniverse via Stargazing Live. They  advertised the site and asked viewers to take part in analysing pictures of galaxies. From this I discovered Snapshot Serengeti.

Snapshot Serengeti was a breath of fresh air. I am not one for travel and so have never visited Africa and experienced the thrills of a safari. This project enabled me to enjoy this experience at a distance.

Snapshot was like many projects. They collected over several years large amounts of camera trap data. So many photographs that to process all the information it would take years and years. The project allowed you view the photographs and identify the species present. I saw Elephants and Lion, all manner of Antelope and Deer as well as the smaller cats and baboons. The interface was easy to use and it felt good to be contributing to some worthwhile science. It became my regular teatime break past time. Sadly the last batch of trap data was conclude this past year.


The good news is that new projects are always coming available and I have found an excellent one to replace it - Chimp and See.

Chimp and See is very similar to Snapshot Serengeti but is based in West Africa. The project is a bit broader allowing more behaviors to be recorded.

There is also a slight change of species whereas in the Serengeti the Wildebeest was the most commonly seen species now it is the Baboon.

I have only been working on the project for about a week. and already I have recorded Mongoose, Snake and Aardwolf.

These projects are an easy way to become involved in world class scientific research. You do not need to be experienced, they all have training tutorials and the design of the project relies on crowd sourcing. With enough people looking at the pictures the correct id generally comes out on top, statistically this projects are quite viable.

So my suggestion is get involved its simple, free and easy and you get to contribute.