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Paper: Mobilizing the GLOBE at Night Citizen-Scientist
Volume: 473, Communicating Science
Page: 295
Authors: Newhouse, M. A.; Walker, C. E.; Boss, S. K.; Hennig, A. J.
Abstract: GLOBE at Night is an international campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution. Citizen-scientists around the world measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer. In the last two years a webapp was developed to enable reporting from mobile devices. Nearly 80,000 data points have been submitted by people in 115 countries during the last 7 years. Our poster will examine the effect of enabling real-time data reporting via mobile devices, and how the Adopt-a-Street pilot project has impacted data collection in two U.S. cities. Recognizing the increasing popularity of smartphones, in late 2010 NOAO staff built a webapp to take advantage of the GPS capabilities built into mobile devices to get an automated and accurate report of the user's location. Refinements to the application have enabled an order of magnitude reduction in the number of erroneous data points due to incorrect location. During the 2011 campaign a pilot program called Adopt-a-Street was created to further take advantage of the ability to report data in real-time via mobile devices. For the 2012 campaign the program continued in Tucson and expanded to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Both of these sub-campaigns encouraged more participation, and resulted in more meaningful results. For example, in prior years Fayetteville averaged three data points in the three years any points were submitted in that area. In 2012, due to the Adopt-a-Street program, there were 98 points submitted, clearly matching the map on their Adopt-a-Street page. Adding support for mobile devices has increased the accuracy and relevance of the data submitted via both mobile devices and desktop computers, as well as enabled new programs. We plan to expand the Adopt-a-Street program next year and find an easier way to accommodate multiple measurements.
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