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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LANDSENSE (A Citizen Observatory and Innovation Marketplace for Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

Currently within the EU’s Earth Observation (EO) monitoring framework, there is a need for low-cost methods for acquiring high quality in-situ data to create accurate and well-validated environmental monitoring products. To help address this need, LandSense is building an innovative citizen observatory for Land Use & Land Cover (LULC) monitoring, by connecting citizens with satellite imagery to transform current approaches to environmental decision making. LandSense aims to uncover the collective potential of citizen science and Earth observation (EO) data to improve the way people see, map and understand the world. Citizen Observatories are community-driven mechanisms to complement existing systems for improved environmental monitoring. They are fostered through innovative and novel EO mobile 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. LandSense will deploy advanced tools, services and resources to mobilize and engage citizens to collect in-situ observations (i.e. ground-based data and visual interpretations of EO imagery). Integrating these citizen-driven in-situ data collections with established authoritative and open access data sources will help reduce costs, extend GEOSS and Copernicus capacities, and support comprehensive environmental monitoring systems.

Policy-relevant campaigns will be implemented in close collaboration with multiple stakeholders to ensure that citizen observations address user requirements and contribute to EU-wide environmental governance and decision-making. Campaigns for addressing local and regional Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) issues are planned for select areas in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Slovenia and Serbia. Novel LandSense services will be deployed and tested in these areas to address critical LULC issues (i.e. urbanization, agricultural land use and forest/habitat monitoring). For example, local residents in the cities of Vienna, Amsterdam and Heidelberg will help cooperatively detect and map changes in land cover and green space to address key issues of urban sprawl and land take. Such campaigns are facilitated through numerous pathways of citizen empowerment via the LandSense Engagement Platform, i.e. tools for discussion, online voting collaborative mapping, as well as events linked to public consultation and cooperative planning. In addition to creating tools for data collection, quality assurance, and interaction with the public, the project aims to drive innovation through collaboration with the private sector. LandSense will build an innovation marketplace to attract a vast community of users across numerous disciplines and sectors and boost Europe’s role in the business of ground-based monitoring.
The LandSense project has had a highly productive first period during the initial 18 months of the project. The team has focused on bringing together existing technology to develop an early prototype of the LandSense Engagement Platform (LEP). The LEP will function as a single-entry point, catered to a broad range of stakeholders to engage in various citizen science campaigns in the field of Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring.
The key results that have been achieved thus far include:
- Definition of the LandSense demonstration pilot cases (Vienna, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Heidelberg, Province of Vojvodina, Spain and Indonesia)
- Conducting a series of stakeholder consultations to develop action plans and campaign strategies for the demonstration pilots
- Development of the first prototype of the LEP ( a web application built with the LandSense federated system, allowing users to login from different Identity Providers (social, internal to LandSense, eduGAIN) and both contribute to LandSense campaigns, and innovate with LandSense tools/services
- Development of beta versions for 5 mobile applications (Frei.Raum.Netz Mijn Park, Paysages, CropSupport, Natura Alert)
- Efforts to adapt the quality control and assurance service from a legacy citizen observatory project (COBWEB) to fit needs of LandSense
- Launch of the LandSense Innovation Challenge (
- Successful dissemination activities, including social media channels

During the first period, as outlined by the achievements above, there has been a strong focus on the technical implementation of the LandSense Engagement Platform, as well as the prototype development of the mobile/web applications. Activities in the second period will focus on applying the technology to citizen science campaigns to progress towards the development of an operational citizen observatory for land use and land cover monitoring.
LandSense aims to deliver concrete, measureable and quality assured results that will complement existing EO monitoring systems and can be seen as extending the in-situ component of the GEOSS and Copernicus initiatives. The key outcomes have considerable potential to lower expenditure costs on in-situ data collection and greatly extend the current database, thereby realizing innovations in the processing chain of LULC monitoring activities within Europe but also beyond. The LandSense Citizen Observatory powered by the Engagement Platform will offer beyond state-of-the-art capacities for Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring.The anticipated outcomes of LandSense have considerable potential to lower expenditure costs on ground-based data collection and greatly extend the current sources of such data, thereby realizing citizen-powered innovations in the processing chain of LULC monitoring activities both within and beyond Europe.
LandSense Citizen Observatory