Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
17B, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Eric A. Graham
Co-organizer: Sandra Henderson
Moderator: Eric A. GrahamThe rapid advances in mobile applications and technologies and the current proliferation of citizen science programs in the U.S. has resulted in a number of partnerships between mobile device software developers and earth stewardship projects. The early outcomes of such partnerships have already enhanced capabilities for both professional and informal participants to record GPS location, images and text, and upload and analyze their observations using their mobile devices. Indeed, people can already take nearly an entire digital library, including numerous field guides and keys, to the field to aid in data collection. New and continued efforts will likely revolutionize the way citizen science participants are recruited and retained and how data is collected by both amateurs and professionals in the field. The development of software for mobile devices for environmental science projects is occurring in relative isolation. Sharing of needs and ideas by data collectors and the methods, techniques, and software by project leaders would be of great benefit to the environmental community, particularly within the perspective of benefiting informal earth stewardship. This OOS brings together individuals interested in using mobile devices for field data collection, those from citizen science projects, and those developing mobile applications to share ideas and approaches to enhancing mobile data collection and analysis in environmental and citizen science projects. Goals of this OOS include: (1) the exposure to a wide audience of current efforts, (2) discussion of cross-platform use and back-end database infrastructure needs, (3) discussion of adopting standardized data format conventions, (4) realizing opportunities for collaboration across projects, and (5) defining future efforts that take advantage of existing and future platforms and infrastructure. The anticipated sequence of topics discussed will begin with current technology and its capabilities and limitations for use in data collection in the field: Hardware, software, and connectivity issues will be examined. After current capabilities are discussed, then current citizen science and field data collection projects that make use of mobile devices will be presented. Current project discussion will include the benefits of technology as well as negative reactions, include novel applications and data analysis, and will transition to expectations and desired improvements. Finally, a brief speculation as to where technology is headed and how ecologists in general can take advantage of mobile devices for data collection will be addressed.
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