A new citizen science app is available from the GLOBE Observer program, called Land Cover — Adopt a Pixel. Participants use their smartphones to take geolocated photos of the landscape and optionally can add in more information.
Launch of the app has received a good response from the public, but more data are needed, especially in these states: North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma and Wyoming
NASA's GLOBE team would love to get observations from more people!
Why Adopt a Pixel is Important for Scientists
The app data are geographically aligned with the pixels in satellite images and provide more details of Earth’s surface than we get from satellites. Scientists are particularly interested in observations that include the more in-depth analysis option in the app (vs. simply taking photos). They plan to use all of this data in combination with satellite data to study Earth’s processes and systems (like the carbon cycle, nutrient cycling, climate change, etc.) and topics such as forest ecology, fire, urban growth, farming practices, invasive species, grassland restoration — pretty much anything that relies on accurate data about what is covering the surface of our Earth.
What’s In It for Visitors and Interpreters?
I’m sure you are aware that citizen science provides a powerful opportunity for visitors to connect with and learn about the environment. And there is evidence that participation in citizen science helps people become more involved in environmental stewardship.
What’s cool about GLOBE Observer is that we can encourage people to make observations wherever they are — on a trail, on vacation, in their towns, etc. and then help them to consider how all of these places are connected. For example, historical sites can challenge people to make observations and then think about how the historical landscape affected the way people lived, changes to the land and how that impacts life today. Then visitors can be prompted to think about how decisions are made about land use today and consider making observations in their own community.
The app is free and easy to use and you don’t need to be connected to the internet while collecting data. You can get the app from Google Play or the App Store — search for “GLOBE Observer.” Once you download the app, register. Then open the Land Cover module — an interactive tutorial that will teach you how to make observations. (If you already have the GLOBE Observer app you can access the new Land Cover module directly.)
We know that when people contribute observations to citizen science projects they get a positive sense of making a difference. It’s a great example of the multiplier effect of individual efforts when thousands of individual observations add up to a clearer understanding of how our planet works.
Thanks for considering contributing to this citizen science effort, and for all you do to advance stewardship of Earth!