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Description

Presenters: Andrew Simon

At this meeting we will be discussing community engagement and citizen science in the context of biodiversity research and local climate monitoring on Galiano Island, BC, Canada.

iNaturalist site

biogaliano.org

Google Doc info

Notes

Notes from Google Doc

  • iNaturalist 2-way flow great - allows learning as well as contributing

  • Allows use by larger community

  • Undergrad research - create a field guide - Parks Canada report

  • Needed a lot of on the ground community engagement to get started on iNaturalist

    • Event-based

  • Now - sub-projects on iNaturalist that map to community events

    • Bio-blitz (May)

  • A lot of social media (FB) engagement too - majority of contributors come through this

  • iNaturalist doesn’t “speak for itself” - content getting swallowed up https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/biodiversity-galiano-island

    • Started website http://biogaliano.org/

    • Citizen scientists, experts,

    • Motivates participation - a lot of diversity but gaps in time - want to confirm the records, plus adding new species to the list

    • Don’t want to reinvent the wheel - not content dense but photos, diagrams

    • See your observations alongside those of scientists

  • Manually entering the data in a spreadsheet - no scripts - value to do so manually as a curator, but some automation would help

  • Making sense of the patterns - grad research - biogeographic trends - add another level of scientific research

  • Royal BC Museum

  • Surface-temperature modeling

  • Protected areas + private properties, agriculture, forestry, other land-use

  • Cold adapted bumblebees, foraging and nesting - how it changes over the course of the year, in land-use context (forestry, etc) - create a framework for monitoring that gets at important factors in making land-use decisions

    • Pollinators - ecological and economic benefits

    • Funding from CRD - sustainable food and agriculture strategy

    • Ministry of forests - local climate stations funding

  • DIY Arduino chip-set system based - software to visualize, using metrics that are useful to many people

  • iNaturalist - great mechanism of engaging people

    • How to develop local community-based activities, infrastructure (e.g. physical signs, other)

    • How to interface with human needs - other incentives

    • How to sustain long-term monitoring projects

    • Deploying, marketing these technologies to generate revenue, make them more sustainable

    • Help in structuring community engagement through technology?

      • Attach signs to trees with name, QR code linked to iNaturalist

      • What vehicles - how to mediate through tech, companies, other economic engines

      • A welcome sign at the ferry on Galiano

      • Tech community on Galiano interested in micro-climate monitoring - get people in touch with the data as a starting point

      • Relationship with devs of iNaturalist? California Academy of Sciences - connected with them about making changes to iNaturalist?

        • Open source - Google Group where you can bring your concerns

        • Fairly responsive

        • Concerned primarily with their objectives - larger scale

        • Go to them with questions relevant to their purposes

        • Spider diagram :) - available through D3/data-driven doc library

          • Modified with help of a friend/dev

          • Not dynamic

    • iNaturalist is open source: https://github.com/inaturalist/inaturalist

    • http://api.inaturalist.org/v1/docs/

    • The kinds of things you wish you could do if the designs/tech were there?

      • Diagrams?

      • Sensors?

      • People to gather data?

      • One particular D3 library - can dynamically populate with csv data file

    • Hardest thing to explain to people about citizen science and how they could contribute

      • Confirming species - Pokemon Live! - not everyone has that drive

      • Didn’t want to make a big long list - more interested in deeper things, deep time, relating to species, how it plays out temporally over the year

      • Momentum of project relies on cataloguing - superficial

      • E.g. Algae, collect and press and make artwork - engage a wider audience

      • Biodiversity pinata workshop

      • Big art community in gulf islands

      • It doesn’t have to become data in the end

      • Frameworks that pair up mutual goals

  • Getting started

    • Existing relationships with people who supported the project

    • Local paper articles - engaged families, but limited, got burnt out

    • Community inventories of natural areas - more freeform

    • Many Bioblitzes - fewer people, no experts

    • Culminated last May in major Bioblitz

  • iNat 81 observes, have engaged 100 at this point

  • Engaging visitors

    • Not guided right now -

    • Checklist with prizes

    • Other ways of incentivizing

    • Have written Walk-throughs

    • iNaturalist not intuitive

    • Photography - little clickers - on-island photography with kids

    • To inspire others in the role Andrew has been playing over last few years

    • Major advantage of iNaturalist - broad

  • iNaturalist - sheer volume of data

    • Visualpedia, Nvidia? - give best guesses to start - will help improve moving observations along - observations get buried

  • Biodiversity Squamish, Lantzville Life

  • Standardizing the spreadsheet to be able to compare records

  • Big databases - GBIF, Canadensys

  • Standardized data formats - Darwin core databases

    • Getting dataset published in scientific community

    • Tools are available, haven’t had time

    • Global biodiversity information facility

    • Pantaxonomic

Interactive diagram: https://www.jasondavies.com/coffee-wheel/

Q/A

  • How could there be help in structuring community engagement through technology or technological activities (e.g. QR codes on trees to identify their species)
    • One solution would be to create a sign for those who get off the ferry, many already have cameras with them.
    • Microclimate monitoring framework (arduino chip sets with sensors, where the nodes are all networked together).
  • What relationship do you have with the devs of iNaturalist
    • The program came out of a masters research project. It's an innovation of the California acadamey of sciences.
  • Do you communicate with them about improvements to their platform.
    • It is open source, and they communicate over a google group
  • Diagram of spider species
    • It was available through D3, but modified with the help of a JavaScript developer
  • How do you update the links to in the spider diagram?
    • Manually inputed using Javascript
  • Is there something you'd like to do that's just out of reach (e.g. technologically, engagement, etc. )
    • There is a particular D3 visualization (sunburst), and others that would be helpful to represent the data.
  • What is the hardest thing for people to engage with citizen science and how they can be connected to scientific research?
    • People do engage with confirming species. Similar drive to what people have when using Pokemon Go.
    • The momentum of the project is around documenting species, but not everyone is interested in this.
    • Another idea was to use algae to make art work
    • not everything has to become data in the end, should find frameworks to pair up personal goals.
  • Are there other art projects
    • There was a piñata project
  • How did you first get going?
    • Support by pillars with the community who wanted to support his undergraduate research
    • Was writing regularly in the actives page, encouraged people to explore and learn
    • Community inventories of natural areas
    • mini-bioblitzes; fewer people no experts. Culminated last May into a full BioBlitz
    • Galiano is a population of approximately 900 people
  • How do initially engage people, how do you instruct them on the process.
    • The framework before was with lists. People are already come to the island with cameras but they aren't guided. Signs would help with that.
    • Through community events.
  • Does the community model in iNaturalist work for review?
    • There are algorithms to help validate discoveries.
    • There is a movement to use visual algorithms to help pair down the classification, for example by genus.
  • Any tools to help with your own research and with others performing similar research?
    • There are a couple other communities in my region (biodiversity squamish, nanaimo?), work to standardized data so that they can more easily compare records.
    • Talking about getting the data set published in the scientific community
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