Between 12 and 20 August, more than 100 volunteers gathered in Tulcea, Romania, for the first Scent pilot campaign on the Danube Delta. This was the first of a series of pilot campaigns the Scent project is organising in Romania and Greece to test new applications developed by the project to enable citizens to monitor changes in their environment.
Scientists across Europe have developed a new augmented reality game to enable and encourage citizens to monitor their local environments. Read more
Welcome to the fourth issue of our Scent newsletter.
As spring is turning into summer, we would like to update you on some of our activities from the last few months. In this edition, we introduce the Scent Charter focusing on what Scent means to you and to others. We also describe how we are getting ready for the upcoming Scent pilots set to start in August and September. You’ll be able to get involved before you know it! In this issue, we also explain the role and function of our crowdsourcing tool in the big Scent picture. In addition, we give you an idea of the nature of our image analysis work and the opportunities it offers in terms of mapping the environment.
The Scent newsletter delivers regular updates on project progress, key developments, relevant events and ways to get involved, straight to your inbox. It is published four times per year, once every season. Remember to check out our website, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel and connect with us on LinkedIn.
Scent is a three-year project funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Enjoy the Scent of spring and stay tuned for details on how to join our activities!
The Scent team
What does Scent mean to you?
We invite you to participate in the shaping of the Scent Charter. We would like to capture your associations with the project, your Scentiments. To contribute to the Scent charter, follow us on Twitter or on Facebook to find calls for submission to the Scent Charter. Choose one or several words you associate with Scent and send it to us using the hashtag #ScentCharter.
The Scent Charter is a dynamic, changing and evolving set of principles, attributes and associated key words that represent the essence of Scent and the participation of you, the public, in achieving the project aims. The Charter takes the form of a “word cloud” which is revised and re-presented on a regular basis based on input and submissions from all stakeholders including you. We use the three leaves icon from the project logo as the shape to be formed from the words. For more information, see: https://scent-project.eu/about-scent/scent-charter
The image below represents our initial Scent Charter cloud. Let’s shape it together!
The Scent partners are getting ready for the pilots!
Preparation for the Scent pilots in Kifisos and the Danube Delta is in full swing. The Scent team is busy creating the time plan and planning the drone flights, the workshops and the training and dissemination material as well as the user engagement strategies to create impact in both pilots.
In the Greek pilot area, the planning is coming along smoothly. The main points of interest, the detailed pilot map and the action plan of the volunteer workshops and the campaign dates are being refined. The associated volunteer workshops are being planned in terms of their locations, the agenda, training material, duration, catering, partner presence and other aspects. The user engagement strategies are being defined in terms of the specific target groups and the channels to reach them.
As far as the Danube Delta pilot is concerned, the planning is proceeding similarly to that in the Kifisos Pilot. The time plan has been set out and the drone flights and associated arrangements, the workshops and training and dissemination material and the user engagement strategies have been planned. The points of interest of the pilot area, the pilot map and a detailed action plan of the volunteer workshops and the campaign dates are close to being finalised.
Details on how to get involved will be shared on our website and across our social media platforms soon!
The CROWD platform is the key digital infrastructure of the Scent toolkit, connecting all applications and services and orchestrating their functionality in a purposeful manner. To find out more about it, we reached out to Dr Daniele Miorandi, CEO of U-Hopper and leader of the work on the design and development of CROWD. “We see ourselves as the ‘plumbers’ of the project: we need to build the pipes, connect and maintain them so that the system as a whole keeps working correctly. Under the hood, CROWD is quite a fat boy, counting currently more than 150,000 lines of code. While this is not a quality indicator per se, and while actually only 15% has been physically written by Scent team members, it gives you an idea of the complexity of the infrastructure we have been developing.”
CROWD plays a multifold role in the big Scent picture. On the one hand, it allows local authorities to configure and manage crowdsourcing campaigns, define points of interest where pictures and measurements are needed, and monitor in real-time the pictures collected by citizens and the issues reported. On the other hand, it manages the complete lifecycle of citizen-generated images. Once a citizen takes a relevant picture using the Scent Explore app, the picture is sent to CROWD. CROWD stores a copy of the image on the cloud and makes it available to the Scent artificial intelligence ‘heart’ (the SIE), which uses advanced machine learning techniques to automatically understand what is in the image. The annotations are fed back to CROWD, which is in charge of deciding whether the ‘quality’ of the annotations is sufficient. If not, the image is made available for being further annotated, this time by people, through the CAPTCHA plugin or the Scent Collaborate app.
“One fundamental aspect of CROWD is its ability to combine artificial intelligence and human intelligence in a holistic way. When users upload a picture, they can describe what they see in the picture. We then use AI, provided by our partner IBM, to double-check whether the users are accurate or whether they miss something relevant for Scent. But if there are inconsistencies, or the machine just isn’t sufficiently sure about what’s there, we revert to humans for checking whether what the initial user and the machine said was right. This combination of artificial and collective intelligence is a distinctive factor of Scent, and something that puts us in a unique position with respect to alternative solutions,” Dr Miorandi explains.
The current prototype will be used this summer in the first wave of piloting activities. “There are still a bunch of things to be fixed, but we are confident our engineers and software guys will sort them out by the end of June, well in time for making it for the pilots in Romania and Greece“, Dr Miorandi adds.
Want to know more about CROWD? Interested in using it for your own project? Get in touch with us at https://scent-project.eu/contact-us
Scent researchers are building Deep Neural Network models for analysing the environment.
These models can automatically detect natural objects and scenes like the ones in the example below.
Analysing these kinds of natural images is very challenging, even for the modern computer vision systems.
First, the boundaries of natural scene-objects are not so well defined and quite subjective. We can for instance all point at the river bank set in stone, but can we define its location more accurately?
Second, the visual variability of these objects is huge and labelled examples are scarce. Modern vision systems use sophisticated deep neural network models requiring a large number of labelled examples to train.
In Scent, we are developing methods to achieve the same or better results while requiring significantly less examples.
Reducing the training effort for our models will also allow them to improve continuously, after they are deployed in the field, making them better and better as they are being used.
Having the ability to analyse the community photos taken in various locations over a geographical region will allow for mapping the environment in this region.
One of the cool applications of this would be feeding these maps into sophisticated geophysical models that will for example be able to predict (and help to prevent) flooding or other natural disasters.
European Citizen Science Association conference 2018
3-5 June 2018
Open Science & the Humanities Conference 2018
21 June 2018
13th International Hydroinformatics Conference
1-6 July 2018
4-6 July 2018
EuroScience Open Forum
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688930.
Looking back, looking ahead
On Thursday 17th May 2018 the Scent consortium, the European Commission Project Officer and the external reviewer gathered for the project’s mid-term review meeting in the heart of the EU. The Scent project team presented the work conducted in the first 18 months and outlined the next steps and plans for future activities. Read more
Scent partner XTeam Software Solutions srls took part in the annual Nordic Game conference held in Malmö, Sweden on 23-25 May 2018. Nordic Game is a leading game conference in Europe and serves as a venue for developers, publishers, and financial backers to meet, network and catch up on the latest news in the world of gaming. This year, Nordic Game hosted over 2,000 professionals in the field. Read more
Are you interested in citizen science and citizens’ observatories? Join a WeObserve Community of Practice!
Read more and register for the CoP launch workshop here: https://www.weobserve.eu/launch-weobserve-communities-practice/
In today’s Spotlight feature we are pleased to introduce the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR) and Kinga Cîmpan, Ecologist at SOR.
SOR is an independent non-governmental organisation founded in 1990. It is Romania’s largest wildlife conservation charity aiming to conserve and study wild bird species, their habitats and sites in Romania. SOR strives to increase people’s awareness of environmental sustainability and works for the protection of biodiversity and bird fauna. As the Romanian partner of BirdLife International, SOR carries out its policy and strategy with a joint global target: conservation of birds and their habitats. Read more
Our partners from XTeam are making good progress on the development of the Scent Explore gaming app. The app will be launched this summer, and you can already have a sneak peek at the game by checking out the cute animal characters:
The latest Scent plenary meeting was held on 20–22 March in Trento, Italy. The three-day project meeting was hosted by Trento-based project partner U-Hopper on their brand-new Impact Hub premises. 20 partners representing all 10 partner organisations gathered in the Alpine town to discuss project progress, exchange ideas and agree on next steps. Read more
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 688930.