20 – 21 June 2019, Athens, Greece
Policymakers, academics and industry experts gathered in Athens on 20 – 21 June 2019 to take part the Scent Showcase – a one-of-a-kind two-day event showcasing brand new innovations in environmental monitoring and the results of the Scent project. Participants had the chance to experience the Scent Toolbox and learn how its applications support citizen science and help to manage and prevent flooding. The programme included interactive discussions from the creators of the Scent Toolbox and an exhibition of the Scent project results, followed by a live demonstration during a field trip to the Kifisos River Basin.
Eleni Velgaki, General Director within the Region of Attica kicked off the programme, commending the project for making science and data accessible to all. These sentiments were followed by Angelos Amditis, Scent Project Coordinator from ICCS, he introduced the Scent Toolbox to the Showcase, highlighting the serious gaming apps and data analytics to support local authorities in organising their own citizen science campaigns. Izabela Freytag, Project Advisor, EASME, European Commission, echoed these views, that Scent demonstrates the power of citizen science in making a positive difference to the future.
The main goal of Scent is to put citizens at the heart of environmental monitoring, enabling them to become the ‘eyes’ of the policy makers. Scent Explore is one of the apps available for citizens to do this. It’s creators, XTeam, reiterated the importance of creating an engaging app for citizens. Scent has created other apps for citizens to engage with environmental monitoring. Scent Collaborate is a crowdsourcing platform. Users train and improve the automation tools in the Scent Toolbox by browsing existing images and annotating them. Scent Measure is a tool to record and measure changes in soil moisture and air temperature.
Our partners from IBM Research introduced the Showcase to the Scent Intelligence Engine, part of the Scent Toolbox. Scent Intelligence Engine uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to learn to annotate environmental features in data collected by citizens.
“The data collected by citizens must be easy to find and access to support its future use” said Valantis Tsiaskos, Scent Project Manager from ICCS. He discussed the Scent Harmonisation Platform, part of the Scent Toolbox that enables the management, storage and provision of all citizen-generated data and added-value information from other Scent Toolbox components. This data is translated into standardised resources in line with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards.
IHE Delft shared about the flood models they have been able to create with the Scent Toolbox, and the importance of gathering useful data during the Scent Pilot Campaigns. The methods used in Scent have been effective given the amount of data collected, complemented by crowdsourced data in flood modelling.
U-Hopper, creators of the Scent Crowdsourcing Platform, shared about the extent of the Scent Toolbox for collecting data from citizens and improved mapping of the environment. All of this can help policy makers to make better decisions. Throughout the Interactive Demonstration, people could test out tools such as Scent Measure. Citizens use portable sensors together with Scent Measure to record and measure changes in soil conditions. Other Scent Toolbox components on display included Scent Campaign Manager, Scent Map Segmentation and Delineation, and Learn with Scent.
During the Roundtable Discussion, panelists discussed challenges and enablers of citizen science in flood monitoring and management. The panel included researchers and policy makers from Greece and Romania, each bringing a new perspective to why people engage in citizen science and how to sustain that engagement. They were all in agreement that people need to see they are having an impact and can help by contributing to something greater. Izabel Freytag, from the European Commission, affirmed “There are many solutions and good examples. We can learn from other citizen science initiatives and educate people, starting with existing communities.”
This discussion led into a session focused on success stories and lessons learned from other citizen science initiatives. Partners from LandSense, WeObserve Ecosystem, GROW Observatory, SMURBS, and HRTA from Scent each shared about how their projects have engaged citizens to become citizen scientists. Panelists were clear that data sharing is key to future developments in the field. The first day to the Showcase closed with an interactive discussion with the audience about the future of Scent, how people could engage with it into the future, and what developments they would like to see.
The next day, people from the Showcase met to take part in one of the Scent Pilot Campaigns and collect data in the Kifisos River Basin. They used Scent Measure and Scent Explore, collecting important data about soil moisture, air temperature, water depth, water velocity, and other images for the Scent Toolbox
Thank you to all those who attended in the Scent Showcase, in particular those who spoke throughout our sessions.
The programme for the Scent Showcase is now available to download here.
Visit Scent Showcase for more information about the Showcase and to access presentations and further photos from the event.