OGC calls for participation in its first Citizen Science Interoperability Experiment


CitSciIE will demonstrate how current ICT-based tools can better enable citizens to participate in Citizen Science projects, as well as improve the reusability of gathered data.


19 June 2018: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) announces a Call for Participation in its first Citizen Science Interoperability Experiment (CitSciIE).

Citizen Science can complement authoritative in situ sensors (for example by contributing air temperature measurements that supplement the official networks of weather stations) and fill the information gaps in numerous scientific disciplines that could be essential for informed decision making. Further, the number of citizen science projects is constantly growing. Local, national, and international platforms feature new projects almost every month, resulting in a huge number of observations.

The CitSciIE is designed to demonstrate how current ICT-based tools can be applied together in a standard way to better enable citizens to participate in Citizen Science projects, as well as improve the reusability of the data gathered, in turn overcoming the isolation of individual initiatives.

We are looking for people or teams to participate in the CitSciIE that can demonstrate the interoperability of Citizen Science projects and the way that OGC standards can be applied to Citizen Science, including possible relationships to other relevant standards from the community. In particular, a subset of the following topics will be addressed depending on the participating organizations:

  • The use of OGC standards (e.g. Sensor Web Enablement for Citizen Science ( SWE4CS)) to support data integration among Citizen Science projects, and with other sources, especially authoritative data;
  • The integration of Citizen Science projects/campaigns in Single Sign-On system (SSO) federation;
  • The relationships between OGC standards and data and metadata standards currently used by Citizen Science projects.

The desired outcome of this experiment is to:

  1. Successfully demonstrate how OGC standards (e.g. SWE) are applicable to Citizen Science, document available supporting tools, identify the challenges of using OGC SWE standards (or Internet of Things equivalent solutions) within current Citizen Science projects, and propose a way forward.
  2. Determine the security considerations and the available tools to support a SSO federation that helps users in participating in several projects by using a single user account.
  3. Assess the possible relationships of OGC standards (e.g. SensorML) with other existing standards in the field (e.g. Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) - Core, the ontology developed by the COST Action on Citizen Science, and the Citizen Science Definition Service (CS-DS) developed in the NextGEOSS project).
  4. Satisfy the necessary requirements to integrate Citizen Science into Global Earth Observations System of Systems ( GEOSS) by using OGC standards.

The kick off meeting for CitSciIE participants will occur on Friday 14th September 2018 at the next OGC TC meeting in Stuttgart. Activities will continue until March 2019.

The results of the experiment will be documented in an OGC Engineering Report (ER), to be presented in a demonstration event, and may result in changes and improvements to OGC standards.

The European Union 7th Framework Program Citizen Observatory Web (COBWEB) project was the first to propose the use of SWE in Citizen Science. This work resulted in the OGC public discussion paper Standardized Information Models to Optimize Exchange, Reusability and Comparability of Citizen Science Data [PDF]. The discussion paper describes a data model for the standardized exchange of citizen science sampling data based on SWE standards. This discussion paper was the initial motivation for this IE.

On June 6 2018, WeObserve - an EU-funded H2020 Coordination and Support Action - with assistance from NextGEOSS, held a pre-kickoff meeting for the CitSciIE. About 25 people attended the meeting and 2 groups started discussions on data sharing and project description metadata. Our desire is that more participants can join when the official kick-off will take place. Details of the meeting are available on the Pre-KickOff meeting webpage.

Findings of this IE will be applied to the Earth Challenge 2020 previously announced by the OGC.

If you are interested in participating in the CitSciIE, please consider attending the kick off meeting on Friday 14th September 2018 at the next OGC TC meeting in Stuttgart.

For more information on the Citizen Science IE, visit the CitSciIE webpage. To register your interest, contact interop-cop3@lists.weobserve.eu.

About OGC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of more than 525 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that ‘geo-enable’ the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful within any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at www.opengeospatial.org.


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