Citizen Science Interoperability Experiment

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The latest information can be found at the public wiki.

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 (Information and Communication Technologies)-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, overcoming the isolation of individual initiatives.

The CitSciIE will demonstrate the interoperability of Citizen Science projects and the way that OGC standards (and maybe others) can be applied to Citizen Science data. In particular, a subset of the following topics will be addressed depending on the participating organizations:

The desired outcome of this experiment is to:

  1. Successfully demonstrate how OGC standards (e.g. SWE or SensorThings API) are applicable to Citizen Science, document available supporting tools, identify the challenges 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 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.




Citizen Science, Earth Observation, OGC APIs, Sensors

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