Experiencing community-based environmental monitoring using modern data collection systems

Jari Silander, Timo Toivanen, Matti Lindholm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsScientific


Europe is facing increasing monitoring requirements to meet obligations under, for example, the Water Framework Directive and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Europe's open data policy and initiative for a Shared Environmental Information System, with interface standardization gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to, in collaboration with existing data providers, develop new innovations for community-based environmental monitoring. These innovations should not only provide an effective way of gathering data but, to support the EUs innovation policy, should also engage the community in the sustainable management of its environment. This paper explores experiences in collecting citizen algae observations in Finland using mobile technology and shows how to benefit from open data interfaces. Paper also explores international methods and lessons learned, but also show how to access open data source. A key element of any participatory sensing is knowledge exchange with large crowds. An example of common conceptual architecture of participatory sensing is presented in figure 1. Observations from the users are sent to a central server where they are stored to a database. Observations can be retrieved using web data interfaces for analysis and research. In addition, the gathered data can be visualized on a map. In an ongoing project, a participatory sensing tool was used for collecting algae observation from citizens. Citizens could report their algae observations by using their mobile phones and through a lake information wiki service [http://www.jarviwiki.fi]. Citizens evaluated the level of algae appearance in four-level scale (none/some/plenty/extreme amount of algae). In addition, they could take a picture of algae using the camera of the mobile phone and attach the picture to the observation. In the summer 2011, we received 374 algae observations in total. In our future work, we are planning to provide water related information back to the users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordic Water 2012: XXVII Nordic Hydrological Conference
Subtitle of host publicationAbstracts : Catchment Restoration and Water Protection
EditorsRiitta Kamula, Bjørn Kløve, Hanna Arola
PublisherUniversity of Oulu
ISBN (Print)978-951-42-9894-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventXXVII Nordic Hydrological Conference, Nordic Water 2012 - Oulu, Finland
Duration: 13 Aug 201215 Aug 2012


ConferenceXXVII Nordic Hydrological Conference, Nordic Water 2012
Abbreviated titleNordic Water 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Experiencing community-based environmental monitoring using modern data collection systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this