Open Data, Citizen Science & openSenseMap – You can get involved!
Open Data and Citizen Science – both are very interesting and introduce interested people to programming in one or the other project, whether with or without previous knowledge. Here you can find out what Open Data is and how you can participate in Citizen Science and benefit from it yourself.
What is Open Data?
Open Data can be made available by anyone who considers it useful, whether private individuals or companies. Open Data is also made available in the public sector (“Open Government Data”), but it is subject to certain regulations.
What is Citizen Science?
Citizen Science is a term that roughly describes scientific methods. Here, interested citizens, often alongside scientists, work together on a voluntary basis. The people involved do not have to have specialist knowledge of the topic being worked on; they can also participate as laypersons. Often in cooperation with scientists, they then work together on, among other things, questions, procedures and data pooling. As a rule, participation in Citizen Science projects is not financially remunerated. On the springer.com website you can see a table of further definitions.
Supporting Open Data with Citizen Science
What happens when Citizen Science and Open Data meet? Simply put, open data is created for a variety of purposes thanks to the people involved. When a project offers Open Data, the more Citizen Science volunteers are active in the same project, the greater the amount of Open Data provided. The more data a particular project has, the more secure it can become. Do you know openSenseMap or have you heard of senseBox?
OpenSenseMap as an example of Open Data and Citizen Science
OpenSenseMap is a world map with environmental data that is updated at one-second intervals and is continuously growing in size due to many contributors. Data such as temperature, humidity, fine dust pollution etc. are included in the openSenseMap.
The data is mainly recorded by senseBoxes and integrated into the map. As of August 2021, around 8 481 senseBoxes are active in the openSenseMap and several thousand updates are carried out every minute. For example, it is possible to see almost live what the weather characteristics are like at the German Chancellery in Berlin. The data of the openSenseMap is open data and can therefore be used or processed as desired. Thanks to the senseBoxes, citizens and pupils or schools can actively participate in the openSenseMap and possibly gain their first programming skills by specifically contributing to the code or the documentation on GitHub. Here you can see the team behind openSenseMap.
Use of Open Data
Open Data can be used in many ways (environment, insurance, prevention, finance, etc.) and with the support of volunteers can be strengthened in some projects. Thanks to open data, developers or property owners can independently research the storm risks to which certain properties are or could be exposed. In view of the recent storms and their consequences, such research is a good way to better protect one’s property. The openSenseMap is also used for complex research projects or by private individuals for a variety of purposes.
Students and citizens are challenged and encouraged by Citizen Science in STEM subjects. We find this promotion very valuable and isn’t it brilliant that everyone can participate in Open Data and benefit from it as well? If you are now curious and would like to get actively involved yourself, we recommend the German platform “Bürger schaffen Wissen“. It provides an overview of various current projects in Germany which you can participate and thus become part of Citizen Science and Open Data.