Citizen Observatory Web (COBWEB)
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COBWEB will leverage the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Concentrating initially on the Welsh Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, we will develop a citizens’ observatory framework, and then validate the work within the context of the UK National Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and internationally, within the WNBR; specifically, within Greek and German Reserves. The infrastructure we develop will exploit technological developments in ubiquitous mobile devices, crowd-sourcing of geographic information and the operationalising of standards based SDI such as the UK Location Information Infrastructure. It will enable citizens living within Biosphere Reserves to collect environmental information on a range of parameters including species distribution, flooding and land cover/use. A main driver will be the opportunity to participate in environmental governance.
Data quality issues will be addressed by using networks of “people as sensors” and by analysing observations and measurements in real-time combination with authoritative models and datasets. The citizen’s observatory framework will integrate with evolving INSPIRE compliant national SDI’s and allow the fusion of citizen sourced data with reference data from public authorities in support of policy objectives. To maximise impact, COBWEB will work within the processes of the standards defining organisations. Specifically, we will aim to improve the usability of Sensor Web Enablement standards with mobile devices, develop widespread acceptance of the data quality measures we develop and maximise the commercial appeal of COBWEB outputs. The end result we are aiming for is a toolkit and a set of models that demonstrably works in different European countries and which is accepted as a core information system component of the WNBR. Implementations of COBWEB will act as models for how technology may be used to empower citizens associations in environmental decision making.