The ALA’s Citizen Science hub, part of our BioCollect system, has been up and running since February this year and we have just released a new and improved version.

The update incorporates feedback from users across the Australian citizen science community and also takes into account developments across the sector internationally.

Citizen science has grown enormously in the last few years. Record numbers of people are participating in projects and technology is evolving to facilitate the contribution citizen science can make to scientific study.

As well as an increase in willing members of the public, the number of studies and the variety of those studies have increased. At the moment on BioCollect’s Citizen Science Project Finder there are more than 260 projects that Australians can participate in.

Collaboration between global citizen science networks in Europe (European Citizen Science Association), the United States (the Citizen Science Association) and Australia (Australian Citizen Science Association) in tandem with technological developments such as ALA’s BioCollect system, and in the USA mean that even more opportunities for citizen science are opening up. It is now possible for Australians to find and participate in global citizen science projects from a single searchable catalogue of projects, which has not been possible before now.

The main changes made to BioCollect in the recent update are:

  • Facet-based instead of tag-based filtering in the Citizen Science Project Finder. You can search by project location, place of origin, organisation or field of study.
  • Improved page layout including a new grid view option, in addition to the list view. We are also planning to add a map-based view of projects in the near future.
  • Inclusion of an expanded the list of science types and fields such as ‘country’, ‘origin’ and ‘UN Regions’ now gives users the ability to quickly find projects of interest to them and that they can participate in.
  • Support for external apps (including mobile apps) to be able to link directly to organisations, projects and individual surveys in BioCollect. This will allow for independent app development back-ended with BioCollect as a cloud-based data storage, management and visualisation system.
  • Improved project blog function to allow individual citizen science project owners to tell their stories, make announcements, highlight activities and achievements.

The update to BioCollect includes many new features for citizen science as well as support for systematic ecological surveys and activity-based works projects, particularly those associated with environmental interventions, restoration and recovery.

In the near future we will be releasing an iPhone/iPad app for BioCollect and developing a mobile app for the Android platform. Both will be designed for off-line use and maximise use of standard device features such as GPS, cameras, media playback, speakers and microphones.

To find a citizen science project to contribute to, or to find out how to set up a project of your own, visit ALA’s BioCollect.

ALA's Citizen Science Porject Finder

The updated web page for the ALA’s Citizen Science Project Finder.