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Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS)

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Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis and Visualisation (ECSAnVis) 

Congo hunter-gatherers interacting with mobile data collection application designed by ExCiteS

Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis and Visualisation (ECSAnVis) is a five-years, 2.5M project funded by the European Research Council, which aims at the development of geographical analysis and visualisation tools that can be used, successfully, by non-literate people and any other community in a culturally appropriate ways, that further fit their needs and social practices. The project build on the work that we started in the Extreme Citizen Science funding and our on going effort towards assisting indigenous communities in knowledge co-production practices to address problems and issues that are important to them, in some of the most critical environments on Earth.

Background: ExCiteS tools and methods 

ECSAnVis builds on the EPSRC-funded ExCiteS project [2011-2016] which demonstrated how non-literate people and those with limited technical literacy can successfully participate in formulating research questions and collecting the data that is important to them. ExCiteS started with the case of supporting Pygmy hunter-gatherers, local NGOs and other local indigenous partners to tackle illegal logging in the Congo basin. It quickly expanded to Namibia, Brazilian Amazon and cases in the UK to support several local communities in their aim to combine their local environmental knowledge with scientific analysis to improve environmental management. In a growing number of cases we negotiated challenging environmental conditions via the development and use of appropriate participatory methods (from various disciplines; e.g. participatory observation, participatory mapping etc.), hardware solutions (e.g. for charging phones in places where there is no electricity), and software, which includes:

Sapelli: a mobile data collection and sharing platform;

- Geokey, a sophisticated back-end solution to support participatory mapping;

- Community Maps: participatory mapping platform to visualise data collected by the users.

· ECSAnVis vision and expected outcomes

ECSAnVis builds on our existing knowledge, experience and products to achieve our greater vision; that is the development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) that can store large amounts of data, show and analyse change over time, and visualise possible future trends while being capable of capturing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and manage it in a culturally sensitive way to support the needs of indigenous groups and communities.

ECSAnVis technological infrastructure builds on top of our existing software and will be expanded to include the development of:

  •  A data upload tool to support data uploads from users’ handheld devices in a secure (i.e. data cannot be taken involuntarily), user-friendly and culturally sensitive way;
  • A data visualisation interface, which considers privacy and other contextual variables (e.g. being culturally appropriate, inclusive of local indigenous knowledge and information that ‘matters’ and ‘makes sense’ to its users; it’s easy to understand and so on);
  • Data analysis functionality with appropriate visualisation and communication modes, which answer users’ questions in a culturally- meaningful context, and which show data trends and patterns.
  • Our existing products and tools will be further expanded and improved to include new needs, lessons learned and success stories.

Do you want to get involved?

  • For companies/NGOs: We are looking for companies and NGOs to collaborate within us in this project. If you are interested please get in touch with Prof. Haklay: m [dot] haklay [at] ucl [dot] ac [dot] uk or Dr Artemis Skarlatidou: a [dot] skarlatidou[at] ucl [dot] ac [dot] uk
  • For students: There will be opportunities for MSc and other students to work with us. If you are interested please get in touch with Dr Artemis Skarlatidou: a [dot] skarlatidou[at] ucl [dot] ac [dot] uk
  • For PhD students: There will be funding opportunities for a PhD which will be advertised on our website and social media. If you are a self-funded or funded by other sources student who want to do a PhD in ECSAnVis please get in touch with Prof. Hakla:  m [dot] haklay [at] ucl [dot] ac [dot] uk or Dr Artemis Skarlatidou: a [dot] skarlatidou[at] ucl [dot] ac [dot] uk
  • For volunteers: Complete the form here