User-friendly web mapping: lessons from a citizen science website – International Journal of Geographical Information Science
User-friendly web mapping: lessons from a citizen science website
Authors: Greg Newman; Don Zimmerman; Alycia Crall; Melinda Laituri; Jim Graham; Linda Stapel
International Journal of Geographical Information Science (IJGIS), Vol 24, Issue 12, December 2010, pages 1851-1869
Citizen science websites are emerging as a common way for volunteers to collect and report geographic ecological data. Engaging the public in citizen science is challenging and, when involving online participation, data entry, and map use, becomes even more daunting. Given these new challenges, citizen science websites must be easy to use, result in positive overall satisfaction for many different users, support many different tasks, and ensure data quality. To begin reaching these goals, we built a geospatially enabled citizen science website, evaluated its usability, and gained experience by working with and listening to citizens using the website. We sought to determine general perceptions, discover potential problems, and iteratively improve website features. Although the website was rated positively overall, map-based tasks identified a wide range of problems. Given our results, we redesigned the website, improved the content, enhanced the ease of use, simplified the map interface, and added features. We discuss citizen science websites in relation to online Public Participation Geographic Information Systems, examine the role(s) websites may play in the citizen science research model, discuss how citizen science research advances GIScience, and offer guidelines to improve citizen-based web mapping applications.
Keywords: Public Participation GIS; usability; citizen science; Web GIS; Internet GIS
- Citizen Science: No Ph.D. Required (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- Citizen Science, Anarchy Evolution Reviewed, Glen Beck Behaves Badly [Greg Laden’s Blog] (scienceblogs.com)
- Could citizen science projects run out of volunteers? (carolune.org)
- Getting to Know the Mapping Science Committee of the National Research Council (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Planet Hunters: another citizen-science project (guardian.co.uk)
- Galaxy Zoo shows how well crowdsourced citizen science works (arstechnica.com)
Tags: citizenscience, galaxyzoo, Geographic information science, geographic information system, Geography, GIS, information science, Laituri, Newman, Participatory Sensing, PGIS, PPGIS, Public Engagement, Public Participation, Public Participation GIS, Social Sciences, Stapel, usability, volunteer, Volunteered Technologies, Web GIS, Zimmerman, Zooniverse
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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