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A Citizen Observatory and Innovation Marketplace for Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - LANDSENSE (A Citizen Observatory and Innovation Marketplace for Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-12-31

LandSense, is a modern citizen observatory for Land Use & Land Cover (LULC) monitoring, that connects citizens with Earth Observation (EO) data to transform current approaches to environmental decision making. Citizen Observatories are community-driven mechanisms to complement existing environmental monitoring systems and can be fostered through EO-based mobile and web applications, allowing citizens to not only play a key role in LULC monitoring, but also to be directly involved in the co-creation of such solutions. Within LandSense, citizens participated in demonstration pilots using their own devices (e.g. mobile phones and tablets), through interactive reporting, gaming applications and mapathons. Some of the LandSense pilots focused on in-situ observations using mobile apps, whereas other pilots were centered around satellite-image interpretations during dedicated mapathons. Campaigns in Vienna, Toulouse, Amsterdam, Serbia, Spain and Indonesia addressed topics such as urban greenspaces, agricultural management and biodiversity/habitat threat monitoring. Through such pilots, LandSense delivered low-cost/scalable solutions and innovative citizen-driven methods to improve EU environmental monitoring strategies. Particular attention was given to quality assurance of citizen observations, GDPR compliance and defining methods for integrating citizen science data with authoritative LULC data.

Some of the key changes promoted via LandSense include:
• Increasing awareness of greenspaces through exploring and reporting on the urban environment
• Fostering coupled EO-CS-based technologies to improve farming practices
• Increased reporting of biodiversity threats in IBAs in Spain and Indonesia by citizens
• Recognition by agencies involved in urban planning, agriculture and biodiversity monitoring of the benefits of citizen engagement and in the generation of valuable, low cost in-situ data
• Improved information products, e.g. enhanced LULC map in France and Europe (OSM Landuse)
• Increasing awareness of federated systems and data privacy for forthcoming CS initiatives
• Lowered expenditure costs on in-situ data collection via volunteered contributions by citizens
• Anchoring citizen science and citizen observatories within the Horizon Europe framework

Finally, the consortium established strong synergies with other relevant projects and citizen observatories (GroundTruth 2.0 GROW, SCENT) to foster an innovation community for people-powered environmental monitoring.
The generated results and innovations during the project can be grouped into 4 main categories:

• LandSense Services (Campaigner, Change Detection, Quality Assurance, CropSupport)
• Applications for in-situ data collection (City Oases, MijnPark, Paysages, Natura Alert, Picture Pile)
• LandSense datasets (City Oases, MijnPark, Paysages, CropSupport, Natura Alert)
• LandSense publications (Public deliverables, Scientific journal publications)

LandSense datasets and publications are envisioned to be used for educational, scientific, and research purposes. As such, these categories of exploitable assets have been widely disseminated and remain freely accessible to different beneficiaries, including the consortium members as well as external audiences like students, scientists and policymakers.

The LandSense public deliverables, publications and datasets are available via:

The consortium ensures that any forthcoming LandSense related outputs are openly published and cross-referenced via these platforms. Additionally, the key exploitable results are published on the Horizon results platform, fostering collaboration, uptake and innovation.
LandSense delivered concrete, measurable and quality assured results that complement existing EO monitoring systems and can be seen as extending the in-situ component of the GEOSS and Copernicus initiatives. LandSense conducted seven demonstration pilots across seven countries across 3 domains. The pilots engaged some 1500 volunteers, who collected more than 10,000 in-situ observations and contributed to 725,000 EO-image interpretations. The project created 5 mobile applications (City Oases, MijnPark, Paysages, CropSupport, Natura Alert) and 4 services (Campaigner, Change Detection, Quality Assurance, CropSupport) that contribute to LULC monitoring. Furthermore, LandSense yielded 23 journal publications (290+ citations), and 5 open access datasets (600+ downloads) thereby adding a significant contribution to the scholarship of citizen science, earth observation and LULC monitoring.
Furthermore, various actions have been taken to guarantee the continuity of key LandSense outputs and associated apps. Follow up has included the streamlining of the LandSense apps in the wider citizen science community through the WeObserve project Some key outputs that are being sustained beyond the lifetime of the project include Natura Alert, Picture Pile and the LandSense Authentication Server.

Natura Alert ( is a mobile app and web portal that allows users to pinpoint the location of threats to biodiversity and habitat changes, to prevent the further damage or loss to our biodiversity. We are particularly interested in threats that are occurring inside Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Key Biodiversity Areas and Natura 2000 sites in the European Union, although submitting records in other areas is also possible. Information on the condition of these sites, the threats to them, the conservation measures in place and the changes in these aspects over time are essential to set priorities, hold governments to account and inform policies and decision-makers. Volunteers can download our mobile app to quickly record their observations in the field or use the web app to discover more functionalities, such as visualizing reports from other users, creating dashboards per country and downloading their own reports. Continuity and sustainability of this app – which is unique in its threat reporting, is guaranteed through funding via the H2020 EuropaBON project ( Currently, there are plans for scaling the app to the Netherlands and Greece.

Picture Pile ( is a successful example of a tool developed as part of LandSense that has a wide and generic applicability beyond the project. The concept behind Picture Pile is simple and appealing. Players can help solve global problems by sorting through piles of pictures and satellite imagery to map for example forest degradation or urban expansion. Picture Pile has quickly grown as one of the standard apps in the wider citizen science toolkit available at IIASA and was part of the Earth Challenge 2020 initiative. The app will be sustained by a new ERC Proof of Concept project.

The LandSense Authentication Server will continue beyond LandSense as a service in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Through the H2020 Cos4Cloud project ( the LandSense Authentication Server will become a European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Community plugin. This will allow Authentication as a Service and will improve FAIR re-use of Citizen Science data with GDPR compliant personal information brokering and non-trackable unique user identifiers (
LandSense Citizen Observatory