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#CrowdCloudLIVE After each episode's WORLD premiere in April, show host, producer, and people seen on the show participated in post-premiere roundtable discussions. Viewers like you listened in, asked questions, and were able to dive deeper into the power of Citizen Science.

Watch the recorded Facebook Live events now. Discover more about how Citizen Science is revolutionizing the ways we gather, analyze, and utilize the data that fuels scientific research, discovery, and community action.

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Blue Map App

In Episode 2, The Crowd & The Cloud travels to China to discover how a smart phone app can prevent "black and smelly rivers". Scroll down to learn more about the people and projects featured in this segment.

The Blue Map App

Citizen scientists in China use an app to populate a map of industrial factories polluting the air, rivers and lakes with current information.

China has a serious pollution problem, and both the government and regular citizens are starting to take action against it. Based in Beijing, the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), is a non-profit organization creating and curating pollution databases that monitor environmental performance. Their goal is to facilitate public participation in environmental governance and hold polluters accountable. IPE provides information about the state of pollution in China, as well as details on the companies and factories responsible for the pollution. Much of this data originates in government-mandated close to real time monitoring of emissions. But IPE’s founder, environmental journalist Ma Jun, believes government data needs to be made accessible via websites and mobile apps. Through IPE’s interactive website, people can search the environmental records and locations of Chinese manufacturers, helping them to make informed decisions on which companies to support as patrons. The website also allows users to view the status of air and water pollution in any region of interest.

Through expanding people’s knowledge on the environment and pollution, IPE allows citizens to understand hazards that may impact their lives. In promoting public participation, China may be more successful at enforcing environmental protocols as more pressure is applied in affected communities. Cities and companies may be shamed into compliance as a result of public visibility. The online pollution map displays over 15,000 companies, and 1,400 factories have taken steps to decrease their pollution, including in the textiles and electronics industries. With more than three million downloads of the mobile app, IPE and Chinese public are working together to improve the environmental performance of companies. As yet, however, there are no plans to implement the Blue Map app internationally and, as far as we know, no similar app exists in the United States.

Additional Resources

China’s Environmental Protection Law

Prevent and control pollution, safeguard public health, promote ecological civilization improvement and facilitate sustainable economic and social development.

Zou Yi’s Photos

One man’s mission to document Beijing’s smog: three years of photos.

Ma Jun: Skoll Awardee

Through its Green Choice Alliance, IPE partners with grassroots NGOs who pressure factories and help publicize environmental violations to inspire local regulatory action.

Ma Jun: Goldman Price Recipient

Ma Jun developed an online database and digital map that show which factories are violating environmental regulations across China.

Official government website designed to accelerate the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science across the U.S. government.

Special thanks to the Skoll and Goldman Foundations for cooperation in producing this segment.