Citizen OBservatory WEB (COBWEB): A Generic Infrastructure Platform to Facilitate the Collection of Citizen Science data for Environmental Monitoring

Christopher Iain Higgins, Jamie Williams, Didier G Leibovici, Ingo Simonis, Mason J Davis, Conor Muldoon, Paul van Genuchten, Gregory O'Hare, Stefan Wiemann


The mass uptake of internet connected, GPS enabled mobile devices has resulted in a surge of citizens active in making a huge variety of environmental observations.  The use and reuse potential of these data is significant but currently compromised by a lack of interoperability.  Useable standards either don’t exist, are neglected, poorly understood or tooling is unavailable.  Large volumes of data are being created but exist in silos.  This is a complex problem requiring sophisticated solutions balanced with the need to present sometimes unsophisticated users with comprehensible and useable software.  COBWEB has addressed this challenge by using the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves as a testbed for researching and developing a generic crowdsourcing infrastructure platform for environmental monitoring.   The solution arrived at provides tools for the creation of mobile Applications which generate data compliant with open interoperability standards and facilitate integration with Spatial Data Infrastructures.  COBWEB is a research project and the components of the COBWEB platform are at different Technology Readiness Levels. This paper outlines how the overall solution was arrived at, describes the main components developed and points to quality assurance, integration of sensors, interoperability and associated standardisation as key areas requiring further attention.



citizen science, crowdsourcing, biological monitoring, standards, Open Geospatial Consortium, environmental governance, spatial data infrastructure, semantics, sensors, access control, privacy, interoperability

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