One of the contributions of Scent is to add data to Earth Observation systems such as GEOSS, with an overarching objective of improving the monitoring of changes in the environment, in particular in relation to land use. To this end, the latest European GEO Workshop EuroGEOSS: shaping the European contribution to GEOSS held 19th-21st June 2017 in Helsinki was an invaluable opportunity to learn of the impact that contributions to GEOSS have had on policy making and on livelihoods across Europe. The opportunity to network with fellow citizens’ observatories (CO) projects and to collaborate to produce helpful discussions about the value of citizen data in GEOSS was immensely valuable as well.
Scent was represented at the workshop by partners from ICCS and Carr Communications collaborating with fellow CO projects: LandSense, GroundTruth2.0 and Grow Observatory. Scent Coordinator Athanasia Tsertou chaired a session on citizens’ observatories and harmonisation of citizen-generated data. She spoke about best practices and challenges in data harmonisation from the perspective of Scent, where the citizen-generated data will be used to enhance land-cover and land-use monitoring processes.
Also relevant to Scent was a discussion surrounding the need for acceptance and quality of citizen data, such as implementing “Seven pillars of quality” in data collection and ensuring citizens have clarity on their tasks to ensure the best data is collected.
Communications experts in Scent, Linda Henriksson and Amy Hume from Carr Communications collaborated with other COs investigating the secrets to engaging citizens. Engagement is integral to citizens’ observatories and should not be seen as an additional activity or after thought. The discussion highlighted the importance of feedback to users, using social media to create connections between users and communities and the valuable contribution that citizens can make to cover data gaps.
Overall it was a fascinating couple of days, which garnered a fuller appreciation of the importance of citizens’ observatories and the importance of contributing to GEOSS. We enjoyed getting to know our colleagues from LandSense, Groundtruth2.0 and Grow Observatory and look forward to future collaborations at similar events.