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Growing Technology

RSS By: Ben Potter, AgWeb.com

Technology editor Ben Potter brings you the latest in technology news, and how you can apply it to farming.


Say Hello to Citizen Science

Jul 23, 2013

You have heard of the citizen’s arrest and perhaps citizen journalism. Now get ready for "citizen science."

Specifically, the U.S. Geological Survey has developed a suite of crowd-sourcing tools the agency says will help it monitor earthquakes, landslides and other significant events in real-time. Here are just a few ways you can become a "virtual member" of the USGS team.

Did You Feel It?

This is an online crowd-sourcing system developed by the USGS to better monitor earthquake activity. You enter data that is aggregated by zip code to show reported shaking intensity. The reports also enhance data from sensors and are incorporated in ShakeMaps used for emergency response. USGS is also tapping into Twitter as a source of rapid firsthand accounts of potential events worldwide.

Did You See It?

This is a program that lets respondents report detailed accounts of observed landslides, including photographs. Landslides cause roughly $2 billion in damages annually in the U.S.

The National Map

The National Map (TNM) is a web-based program that shows data on manmade structures like schools, hospitals, post offices, police stations and more. Users can also create their own custom maps on the TMN website.

Nature’s Notebook

Nature's Notebook is a "national, online program where amateur and professional naturalists regularly record observations of plants and animals to generate long-term data sets used for scientific discovery and decision-making."

USGS contends that "social media is no longer limited to just ‘liking’ a picture. The agency hopes it can continue to work with millions of "citizen scientists" across the globe.


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