Sign up and stay in-the-know about The Crowd & The Cloud and the world of citizen science.
In Episode 1, The Crowd & The Cloud meets several citizen watchdogs using DIY tools to protect their environment. Scroll down to learn more about the people and projects featured in this segment.
Develop, apply open-source tools to environmental exploration.
Public Lab - The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science - is a community which develops and applies open source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. It was founded in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill disaster that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. There was a blackout of information (although BP and the Coast Guard denied official censorship), so no one knew what was going on and there was little tracking of what was happening on the ground. A group of concerned residents, environmental advocates, designers, and social scientists built sensors made from balloons, kites and digital cameras. They flew them over the oil-covered ocean and beaches to collect real time data about the spill’s impact on the environment. They were able to stitch together over 100,000 aerial images of the coastline, collected from their newly-created open source platform, thus providing a before and after map of the spill. This allowed the affected residents to speak up about what was going on in the Gulf Coast, effectively communicating the extent of the disaster to the nation.
Public Lab convenes a collaborative network of practitioners using inexpensive and accessible DIY techniques who actively seek to reconnect humans with their environment. They are citizen scientists generating knowledge and sharing data through open source hardware and software tools, with the goal of increasing community understanding. Accountability and awareness of environmental concerns are achieved through training both online and offline, education and support, and emphasising human capacity to understand and respond.
Anyone can join Public Lab. Generating public knowledge is supported by hands on technical development and real applications in your community, partnered with scientific experts. How does it work? You can post your questions about environmental concerns through a wiki-style interactive forum, as well as share your research and reach out to others with the same goals. The idea is to address local issues by building partnerships between community organizers, technologists, scientists and activists. Everything about Public Lab is created by the community and remains open source, including science, technology, and data.
Mapping for Change works to provide benefit to individuals and communities from disadvantaged or marginalized groups to create positive sustainable transformations in their environment.
Empowering communities to observe how weather and climate affect their environment with their Community Weather & Climate Journal, Mobile Tracker App, and
CROWD & CLOUD Advisor Gerald (“Jerry”) Nelson is one of the inspirations for the series… although we first met him as an agricultural economist, not someone concerned about air quality.
“We design and implement environmental solutions tailored to fit the needs of each client.”