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Introduction to COWM 

Citizen observatories (COs) emerged, especially in the last decade, as a virtual and physical place where citizens and decision makers cooperate to gather and share information to promote innovative and shared solutions that impact society and the environment. COs are a means to acquire intensive data collection and interpretation, information that provides an important basis for long term planning as well as short term response (e.g. to flooding, drought, pollution events, cyanobacterial blooms and natural disasters in general, to land use change, etc.).

The COWM International Conference is a biennial event that has been organized since 2016. The first edition brought together specialists in water, water resources, soil and environmental protection (international academic communities, professionals, public administrations, businesses and engineering companies), and stimulated and promoted both research and real world applications: the presence of experts from worldwide (over 75 scientific presentations by leading experts coming from more than 15 nations - from Australia to the United States, from Scandinavia to South Africa), confirmed the importance on an international level of the data engineering processes that exploit the potential of citizens’ collective intelligence, via mining of social media and monitoring of information provided directly by citizens.

The 2018 edition, entitled “Citizen Observatories for natural hazards and Water Management”, will focus on the potential of Citizen Science in the fields of Environmental Monitoring, Natural Risks management, Land use monitoring and management.

The Conference will offer the possibility of investigating the role and opportunities for active citizen participation in policy making and the new technologies and methods to support Citizen Observatories: new approaches to data capturing (e.g. sensors, crowd-sourcing, EO data), integration methods, cross-validation, data assimilation techniques, advanced water models. The event, as in 2016, will provide opportunities to engage with researchers, academics, policy makers and practitioners actively involved in improving our understanding of citizen science initiatives and for all the actors in the field of science and innovation to exchange experiences on the development, implementation and use of new technologies to bring water and natural disasters- related issues closer to citizens.

Participants will discuss the ever-increasing potential of Citizens’ Observatories in empowering the society, improving the policy-making and the resilience at the community scale, meeting the challenges of the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and Flood Directive (2007/60/EC).

2nd International Conference
Citizen Observatories for
natural hazards and 
Water Management
27-30 November 2018, Venice


Autorità di bacino distrettuale
delle Alpi Orientali

Cannaregio 4314, 30121, Venice (IT)
Tel: +39 041 714 444
Fax: +39 041 714 313
Secretariat & logistics
Scientific program committee