Scent Scientists Develop a New Game to Enable Citizens Monitor the Environment
- Scientists across Europe have developed a new augmented reality game called ‘Scent Explore’ to enable and encourage citizens to monitor their local environments
- It’s one of four new Apps developed by the Scent Project to improve the accuracy of existing flood risk maps by more than 15%
- Scent is a European Union research project funded under the Horizon 2020 programme
Scientists across Europe have developed a new augmented reality game to enable and encourage citizens to monitor their local environments.
It’s called ‘Scent Explore’ and it is free to download at the app store. It is a fun game where the user gets points for finding Scent creatures hiding in their locality, for example ‘Veggie’ or ‘Tree’.
When the users find a Scent creature, they take a picture of it and collect points. The creatures have been placed in specific locations of environmental interest so that data can be gathered and changes in land cover and land use can be monitored in that exact area.
“Citizens can help us understand our environment better by playing this fun game”, said Kinga Cîmpan, ecologist and Scent researcher.
“The Scent project will show citizens that they can in fact have a real impact in environmental monitoring and identification of flood risks. The pictures and data collected by citizens will improve the accuracy of existing flood risk maps by more than 15% and thus make areas close to floodplains less vulnerable to disasters,” she added.
‘Scent Explore’ is one of four new applications developed by the Scent European Project consortium to assist a variety of stakeholders, including scientists, ecologists, hydrologists and local authorities, to get a more precise picture of changes to the land and environment.
The data collected by citizens, using the Scent applications will complement existing global mapping databases such as GEOSS and Copernicus. The data generated by citizens will be more accurate and dynamic as it will record real-time information.
The Danube Delta in Romania has been chosen as the first location to test the new Scent app ‘Scent Explore’.
Over 100 members of the Romanian Ornithological Society will travel around the Danube Delta 12th – 19th of August testing this new technology and gathering information. Ornithology is the study of birds. The Romanian Ornithological Society is one of the ten Scent partners involved in developing this innovative technology.
The Danube Delta stretches over 580,000 hectares and is home to more than 6,000 species of flora and fauna. It has the highest concentration of bird colonies in Europe making it an ideal destination for ornithologists. It has over 340 species of birds including cormorants, white tailed eagles and glossy ibises. Other animals include: wildcats, foxes, boar and deer as well as 135 freshwater fish species.
“This is the largest wetland in Europe. But the Danube Delta suffers from human interventions leading to dramatic changes, for example, damming large areas for agricultural use and intensive forestry,” said Ms. Cîmpan.
“We believe that these changes to the landscape could create big problems overtime. But these problems can be avoided if we gather enough information to identify and stop them before they cause detrimental effects to communities, ecosystems and environmental sustainability.
There is currently no up-to-date land cover / land-use data available on this rural environment, to allow us to monitor these changes on a frequent basis and with high spatial resolution. Therefore, the data gathered through ‘Scent Explore’ this week will be invaluable,” she explained.
‘Scent Explore’ is currently available to play along the Danube Delta in Romania and along the Kifisos river in Attica, Greece.
Are you a local authority or community group? Would you like to make a real tangible impact on your local environment? If so, contact the Scent Project and see how you can bring the ‘Scent Explore’ game to your town, city or rural area. Email the Scent Coordinator, Dr. Angelos Amditis, Research Director at ICCS, Greece firstname.lastname@example.org
About Scent Smart Toolbox
The ‘Scent Smart Toolbox’ contains four applications: Scent Explore, Scent Collaborate, Scent Measure and Scent Campaign Manager.
This app is a fun, augmented reality game where the user gets points for finding Scent creatures hiding in their locality. All the Scent creatures have names, for example, ‘Veggie’ ‘Mushroom’ and ‘Penguin’.
When you find a Scent creature, you take a picture of it and gather points. The user will also receive feedback and will be ranked so that they can compete with others playing the game.
The app developers have chosen to hide the creatures in specific locations so that they can gather data on the land and species in that exact area.
To download the app click here:
This app is like Captcha – the test used on websites to determine whether or not a user is human.
The ‘Scent Collaborate’ app, can be accessed anytime, anywhere through your computer or smart devices. It allows the user to train and improve Scent tools simply by browsing images and stating whether for example, you can see pastures, forests, river banks, buildings, paved areas etc.
You can help the Scent movement by tagging images that are already in the system. This way we are able to validate our tools and correct ambiguous cases. Understanding photos taken in a specific location will improve maps of the environment in this region. This in turn will help better predict and prevent flooding and other natural disasters.
To access the app click here.
The Scent Measure App works in tandem with a portable smart device sensor connected to your mobile phone or tablet. Simply stick the sensor into the ground and it can measure soil moisture levels and air temperature. This app would be particularly useful for anyone interested in gardening.
To download the app click here.
Scent Campaign Manager:
Scent Campaign Manager is a web-based app that enables policy makers and other interested stakeholders to create and manage Scent campaigns to monitor and streamline the collection of environmental information in specific areas of interest.
To register click here.
About Scent EU project
Scent is a European Union research project funded under the Horizon 2020 programme. The project began in 2016 and will be complete in 2019. It comprises of 10 partner organisations from six countries: Romania, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Israel, and Ireland.
Scent researchers and scientists have created new innovative tools to enable citizens to participate in environmental monitoring. The data collected by citizens will support a variety of stakeholders including, scientists, engineers, ecologists, hydrologists, and local authorities in getting a more accurate picture of changes to the local environment.
The project will demonstrate the huge potential of citizen observation and monitoring of the environment. A people-led online observation movement will capture land-cover and land use changes through user-friendly tools and technologies called ‘The Scent Toolbox’. This will complement existing forms of monitoring such as satellite and remote sensing which are costly and less dynamic.
The Scent Toolbox will be tested in two large scale pilots: the urban area along the Kifisos river in Attica, Greece and the rural case of the Danube Delta in Romania.
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