CROWDSOURCING TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE
THE COLOUR, TRANSPARENCY AND FLUORESCENCE OF THE SEA
Wernand, Marcel R
; Ceccaroni, Luigi
; Piera, Jaume
; Zielinski, Oliver
; the Citclops consortium
Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Landsdiep 4, Den Hoorn,
Barcelona Digital Technology Centre, Barcelona, Spain
Unidad Tecnología Marina, Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones
Científicas, Barcelona, Spain
Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, University of Ol
Oldenburg, 26111, Germany
Environmental problems should not be tackled by scientists or policy makers alone. Involving the
general public in observing and understanding our changing world, and encouraging citizen
stewardship for the (marine) environment are crucial elements for a s
ustainable way of facing
current and future problems. The EC
funded project Citclops start
in October 2012 and is focused
on retrieving, through crowdsourcing, data on three main optical properties related to sea
quality: colour, transparency and fl
uorescence. Novel technologies will be developed to retrieve
these properties based on citizens’ measurements with common mobile devices.
phone camera images, taken through citizens’ collaboration, will
be used to calculate
Ule index for the water body, providing an indication of gross
transparency is planned to be measured by three alternative sensor
systems: i) smart
phone cameras; ii) low
cost moored instrumentation; and iii) underwater
wearable cameras with added low
cost sensing systems (quasi
digital sensors). Obtained ocean
colour and transparency data will complement the long
term global data series which go back to the
Finally, to assess the fluorescence of diff
erent water constituents, low
sources will be customized and connected to smart
phones and other mobile devices.
All acquired data is automatically uploaded through a specific service or application (such as
nt Upload), archived remotely and processed, and resulting information is
accessed through a webpage or a mobile application by end users, thus closing the loop to citizens
and policy makers.
Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Environment, Ocean Colour,
Secchi, Fluorescence, Chlorophyll
The status of Europe’s coastal waters and changes in their composition
of concern. Not only is the absolute amount of nutrients input varying, but there are also changes in
the ratio of nutrients leading to changes in species compositions and bloom timings.
has been shown to be
a reliable technique to identify several water
quality is a main concern of monitoring
agencies and the
public, and it is subject of several European directives and regional conventions. The
is a major reaction of the European Community to this concern, underpinning the
relevance of the marine environment for Europe. As an upstream service it provides relevant data
on the status of our oceans and coastal waters to all interested research and m
communities in Europe and beyond.
Today, users of water
quality parameters derived from remote sensing are mainly national
owever, industries operating in coastal waters, such as aquaculture
are concerned by water quality
too, and some are regular
users of remotely sensed water quality information.
, water pollution and harmful algal
blooms (Hoagland and Scatasta, 2006) can have effects upon the benefits of coast
effects and public
(Machado and Mourato, 2002).
An active working group on near
shore coastal water quality operates within the
global earth observation system of systems
) frameworks, and the
2015 work plan includes the development of a global near
coastal water quality
information system. Key is the statement that “monitoring water quality using remote sensing, in
conjunction with strategic
pling, is needed to determine the current status of water
quality conditions and to help anticipate, mitigate, and even avoid future water catastrophes”.
. Sketch of
itizens' observatory for coast and
ocean optical monitoring
In this context, a
for coast and ocean
optical monitoring (Citclops
, which was recently
by the European
will bridge the gap between the local sampling experience and satellite
aking the connection betwe
en the citizen
observatory and satellite
based information will commit the users to the water quality
and will give support to
innovation in space
based research and services
(Ratti and Townsend, 2011)
G OF THE
AND FLUORESCENCE OF
Crowdsourcing monitoring techniques
, in Citclops,
focused on retrieving three main optical
properties related to the water quality of the sea: colour, transparency and fluorescence. These
measurements provide the apparent optical properties of water that can be coupled to basic
biological and physical pa
a concentration, suspended matter concentration,
coloured dissolved organic matter
, presence of floating layers and
Colour and transparency in water have been measured for a lon
(FU) scale (Wernand, M. R.
van der Woerd, 2010
through the Secchi disc (
Boyce et al.
2010; Siege and
(Moore et al., 2009) is important to detec
t particular substances, such as
contaminants, but no long time
series exist in this case.
One of the goals
of Citclops is
to define a methodology for robust estimation by citizens of optical
water quality parameters.
This methodology will include strict
quality control that will ensure that
crowdsourcing techniques provide correct and high
protocol will be developed in tandem with instrument development.
shows the work
package structure of
and their relations
facilitate crowdsourcing and
) will be
interface for ‘environmental monitoring’
in the form of
or more smart
, to be developed
nother example is a
focused on monitoring swell and length of waves
y using sun glint
(taking a photograph of the sea surface i
nto the direction of the sun
) or the detection of
waves (Jackson, 2007).
names for lakes
) and the
) are shown
is a more important issue for mobile technology than for other
mobile applications are often difficult to use, and lack flexibility and robustness, great room for
improvement exists in this area (Wixon, 2011). In this respect, Citclops will explore objective
methods to quantify and improve usability in all s
oftware and hardware developments and for
The foreseen widespread, distributed, self
maintaining, constantly improving and expanding,
based sensor network is ideal for environmental monitoring, and specifically f
environment conditions monitoring on macro and micro scale;
constant monitoring of normal situations (e.g., ice coverage) and abnormal situations (e.g.,
harmful algal blooms, spills) (Adamo et al., 2007);
monitoring of the presence and abunda
nce of organisms sensed through colour, transparency
Novel technologies and colorimetric methods will be developed to retrieve the colour of the sea,
on citizens’ measurements, and will complement the long
series that goes back to 1890. In the FU scale,
a palette of 21 colours
is compared with the colou
the water body.
An example of FU index related to Case 1 chlorophyll is shown in
Influences of the solar zenith angle, sun glitter at the air
water interface, waves and lens effects, and
rapid changes in cloud cover
will be established
Models of the ocean colour indicate that the FU index is a chlorophyll proxy in the open ocean.
will develop a method that converts JPG images from smart
phone cameras into the
colour space and into the standard CIE 1931 XYZ colour
space to determine the FU index or simply
use the F
colour scale, displayed in the screens’ display, as a comparator scale (
camera images the FU index
, or compared to
give an indication of gross biological activity. Images will be in JPG format
and will be sub
sampled for archiving. Additional information is collected while taking the picture:
geographical position, date and time, and some ID of the phone user (respecti
ng their privacy). The
protocols will be based on the experience at NIOZ with over ten years of continuous
monitoring with RAMSES spectrometers and laboratory analysis of the water composition.
bers derived from
was varied from 0.1 to 40
with a resulting
. Through this
only holds for Case
chlorophyll concentration can be calculated from
the colour of water
phone camera images, taken through
citizens’ collaboration, will be used to either compare or calculate
index for the water body, providing an indication of gross biological activity.
Simulations with the
radiative transfer numerical model will
be carried out to reconstruct the intrinsic water colour at two pilot sites.
One of the test areas chosen
colour monitoring is situated in the western part of the Wadden S
apparent colour of the Wadden Sea is situated at the green to brown end of the FU
15 and 19); therefore, at this test area, the sea colour can be tested and validated at the extreme edge
of the green to brown transition
. In the western Mediterranean the range of colour codes is from 2 to
4; therefore in the
which is located in Mediterranean Spain,
the sea colour can be
tested and validated at the opposite extreme of the scale.
Novel technologies and methods will be developed to retrieve water
transparency properties. The
main goal is to determine light
coefficients, enabling comparison
with historical data. Based on citizens’ coll
aboration, it is planned to develop sensor systems with
(focussed on different
. Following an acquisition methodology similar to the one proposed in
, a set of Secchi
disc pictures (at different depths) will be obtained from citizens
in a particular spot. A dedicated algorithm will estimate the Secchi depth of this particular
the picture data set. The target community in this case will be similar to the
one carrying out colour estimation.
cost moored instrumentation
. A moored system for low
cost sensing, based on quasi
digital sensors, will obtain irradiance measurements
at different depths. The buoy we
propose to develop will be based on
the Arduino platform [http://www.arduino.cc/] or
similar technology. Arduino is an example of
source electronics prototyping platforms
based on flexible, low
cost and easy
dware and software. With this type of
platforms we plan also to offer hands
on workshops inspired by the idea of "
create your own
", incrementing crowdsourcing capabilities. The mooring will incorporate also a
communication system based on
ess personal area network
target citizen community in this case are people involved in aquatic activities such as
sailing, artisanal fishing or sea
kayaking, carrying a mobile device with a dedicated WPAN
application. The role of c
itizens in this case is mainly to act as “data carriers” (see
whenever they are within the mooring communication connectivity
will be automatically transmitted to their mobile devices. The mobile devices will
automatically retransmit the data once they have the po
ssibility to connect to a data centre
2). A pilot study to demonstrate the viability of this approach will be carried out in
th a local artisanal fishing association.
Underwater, wearable cameras with added low
cost sensing system
The target user community are people involved in underwater activities (snorkelling or
diving; see for example the
with light sources can be attached to diving masks
information to the users (e.g., depth, but also light measurements). Dedicated
software will be developed to visualize (and analyse) the images and the sensor data.
Averaging light measurements obtained at the same depths will allow characterizing how
ht changes with depth. With this information it is planned to calculate light extinction
coefficients in the diving location.
Example of low
cost moored sensor data reception and transmission
The quality control protocols for transparency measurements will be taken from ESA and NASA
protocols. These will be extended with very practical rules, derived from the equations given
Preisendorfer (1986), to correct
depth for solar zenith angl
e and sun glitter at the air
mask with camera and light
is planned to be
measured by three alternative sensor systems: i) smart
phone cameras; ii) low
instrumentation and iii) underwater, wearable cameras with added low
ovel technologies, methods and sensors will be developed to retrieve water
properties. Fluorescence is the process of emitting light as result of some (in Citclops case, optical)
stimulus. This process can be used to detect and identify materi
als, estimate concentrations, and
provide valuable physiological information for phytoplankton (including potentially harmful
species) and other aquatic materials (including oil and other pollutants).
Citizens will deploy low
connected to a smart
) and other mobile devices to take and store fluorescence data. Within Citclops, novel low
systems will be adopted to provide easiness of use to citizens performing fluorescence
sensing of water quality indicators. The interpretation of fluorescence signals from algae are related
to the concentration of chlorophyll
a, but other effects have infl
uence on the relation, like the
photochemical pigments ratio, nutrient limitation and photo
on experience in the laboratory (Peperzak et al., 2011) these influences will be desc
protocols for quality
conversion will be provided.
To assess the fluorescence of different water constituents, low
cost sensors and
sources will be customized and connected to smart
phones and other mobile devices.
Citizens’ education and participation in environmental stewardship
education approach will foster the understanding of aquatic environmental observations
and monitoring, co
participation in community decision
making and co
Experiments and procedures will include interaction within pilot case studies, where initial outreach
activities will be focused. Ways to communicate the monitoring needs and approaches to citizens
and educational institutions will include: field seminars
on science, free educational
posters for schools, content of specific applications and interactive maps.
based systems integration
One of the general goals of
Citclops is to
decision support system
(DSS) that allows and
facilitates the development, implementation and deployment of ecosystem
els in environmental sciences
. A knowledge
based system, whose expertise is
derived from special
rpose rules, will be developed. Citclops rules will be in part deduced by
sensor data streams and in part from archived data sets. Rules will reflect the uncertainty
associated with oceanographic knowledge.
With respect to presentation interfaces,
although progress has been made in terms of technological
innovations, there are obvious limitations and challenges for the mobile
device interfaces which
will be used in Citclops, due to their intrinsic characteristics (i.e., size of screens, non
input methods, and navigational difficulties) (Coursaris and Kim, 2011).
Dissemination and standardisation
results will be disseminated to all the interested stakeholders through several channels.
Workshops and conferences will be organised to
promote the experiences and project outcomes.
Submission of publications and results to public data
repositories will be supported. Necessary
work will be undertaken to position and package Citclops results for successful uptake and
r project closure. Dissemination and standardisation efforts will be consistent
with other relevant efforts from cluster partners and other groups. This includes being abreast of
other efforts to develop standards, guidelines, certifications, and monitorin
g systems and
components. For dissemination, Citclops will go beyond the state of the art in a novel
methodological way: through
ethodologies and standards for data archiving
will be established including
a portal for discovery
access to collected data streams and archived data sets, based upon SeaDataNet
[http://www.seadatanet.org/] standards and principles
GIS analysis and data
will be developed
and analysis tools
will be expanded
sources (including satellite and sensor networks) to crowdsourced data. Data interpretation will
include algorithms to merge knowledge from conventional, existing observing
systems (e.g., remote
sensing images, buoy networks and
other context data) with crowdsourced data. Functionality to
automate the acquisition and integration of third
party data will be developed allowing for seamless
interoperability between datasets regardless of their source.
Bouma et al. (2009) have develo
clear analytical framework to evaluate the benefits of global earth observation for environmental
resource management and disaster prevention. This was demonstrated in a case study on the use of
satellite observations for Dutch water quality manageme
nt in the North Sea (van der Woerd et al.,
With respect to interoperability, this will be ensured through the formal use of ontologies
(Ceccaroni and Oliva, 2012) and GIS tools specifically developed to allow cross comparison of
very different sourc
es of data.
objectives of the Citclops project
To enable citizens’ participation (crowdsourcing) in capturing environmental (water quality)
data in coastal and oceanic areas through the use of existing devices, such as
as sensors, thus reducing the cost and effort of monitoring.
To develop improved low
cost sensors and systems for monitoring water’s colour,
transparency and fluorescence, and use them in combination with geo
ution platform and community involvement.
To provide recommendations in sectors such as energy, transport, fisheries, health and
spatial planning, interpreting collected data through artificial intelligence techniques.
To disseminate interpreted informat
ion to two kinds of users: citizens (individuals and
associations) and policy makers (e.g., local administrations).
To produce applied results, developing: new applications for mobile devices; friendlier and
more flexible user interfaces; social
g capabilities to connect citizens and citizens’
associations to policy makers; a better support infrastructure.
will develop low
cost systems (smart
phone cameras and quasi
digital optical sensors) to
retrieve and use data on water c
olour, transparency and fluorescence, in combination with geo
nternet distribution platform and community involvement, inspired by existing
experiences with other applications (e.g., Secchi Dip
In [http://www.secchidipin.org], Coastwatch
urope [http://www.coastwatch.org/], Oil Reporter [
] and Creek Watch
[http://creekwatch.researchlabs.ibm.com]). This new approach will contribute to the global network
situ sensors necessary to monitor the environment, complemen
tary to the actions conducted in
global monitoring for environment and security
(GMES) initiative. Collected data will be
interpreted and resulting information delivered to
to improve the management of the
coastal zone; it will be also de
livered through mobile applications to
to help them
maximizing their experience in activities in which water quality has a role.
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OARD OF THE
OLLEGE OF T