DV-18-12 Data compilation, analysis and visualization training for citizen scientists

Kathleen Thornton
Darling Marine Center
University of Maine

Citizen groups, aided by new technologies such as autonomous buoys, sondes, and other hand held instrumentation, as well as an expanding network of volunteer monitors, are obtaining a steadily increasing volume of coastal and estuarine water quality data. Even as the amount of data increases, there exist gaps in knowledge and skills in the citizen science community in the areas of data compilation, quality control, analysis and visualization. These gaps prevent some citizen science data from being processed in a timely manner and often require that community groups hire outside experts to perform these functions. Funds for outside consultants are often not available or are diverted from other priorities to accomplish data processing goals. Equipping some citizen scientists with as many of these skills as possible, will help to make these communities more self sufficient and resilient in the face of funding shortfalls.

Building on a previous workshop supported by Sea Grant, this project will provide training for citizen scientists in data quality control (QC), data compilation, analysis and visualization. Citizen scientists with specific expertise will be encouraged to become part of the instructor team. Training citizen scientists to perform these functions will enhance public understanding of science while also enhancing usefulness and relevance of their data.

Sea Grant funds: $1,100