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  • Community involvement in environmental management
  • New challenges for integrated water cycle management

The contribution of trained citizens and communities in catchment-based monitoring and management is a powerful means to protect and improve our water environment and biodiversity. Citizen observatories can facilitate the acquisition of large quantities of high resolution environmental data across a broad geographic area, necessary to better understand the conditions of our aquatic ecosystems and, more generally, of the environment. Collaboration between scientists, agencies, river trusts and citizens enables the collection and analysis of fundamental ecological and environmental data on larger spatial and temporal scales than otherwise possible, and the sharing of traditional knowledge.

These collaborations provide important indirect benefits, as projects involving communities and citizen scientists are inclusive and generate more informed public discussions and public action. Throughout Europe and the world, novel and innovative citizen science projects are being developed with multiple objectives and varying success.

This session will focus on novel approaches in citizen observatories focused on the water environment and integrated catchment management. The session will also consider key lessons learned, best practices and guideline the range of ongoing projects as well as explore new collaborations.


  • Decision support in extreme weather/climate events
  • Resilience and Territorial Safety

Crowd sourcing in emergency management is emerging as a key-strategy for the active participation of population reducing costs of preparation, response and recovery.

Crisis management and societal resilience capabilities are regularly challenged and constantly need to evolve to cope with new trends, such as changing crisis situations and the increasing connectivity of citizens.

Enhancing active participation and awareness of the population provides important benefits in territorial management and risk mitigation and, as a direct consequence, improves the resilience of communities and emergency services.

This session will focus on new approaches and solutions for strengthening crisis communication and facilitating community engagement and self-organization, and for improving the coordination of professional responders (e.g. smart technologies as solutions for civil resilience and professional response, methods and infrastructure for individual and organizational learning).The session will also consider key lessons learned, best practices and experiences emerged from ongoing projects as well as explore new collaborations among all stakeholders in Crisis management who are concerned by societal and technological innovation.


  • Crowd-sourcing techniques for Land Use and Land Cover monitoring
  • Community involvement in monitoring land change

To meet the demands of food production and to answer a long-standing challenge for space science, the validation of soil moisture detection from satellites, there is a growing need for low-cost methods for acquiring high quality in-situ data to create accurate and well-validated land monitoring products with information on land and soil resource at a resolution hitherto not previously considered.

Complementing the power of EO systems with advanced crowdsourcing techniques allows to deliver value added services to citizens, farmers as well as policy makers responsible for a wide range of areas (including agriculture, spatial and urban planning, transportation, environmental and water management).


  • Making sensors in 2018: new approaches for data capturing
  • Earth Observation data for natural hazards and water management
  • Platforms and e-services for citizen observatories data interoperability
  • Data integration, data assimilation techniques, advanced water modeling

Information and communications technology (ICT) and models are drivers to include social innovation in many aspects of catchment management, enabling citizens observatories to increase participation and to translate data capturing into meaningful information.

The Citizen Observatory promotes communication and supports the sharing of technological solutions (e.g. sensors, mobile apps, web portals) to enable citizens to become active stakeholders in information capturing, evaluation and communication for the water environment. This new approach in water management raises the necessity of best using and elaborating the citizens’ observations and understanding of environmentally/water-related problems.

This session will focus in on technologies and methods to support Citizen Observatories, including – but not limited to - new approaches to data capturing (e.g. sensors, crowd-sourcing methods, remote sensing technologies), integration methods to combine data from various sources of varying temporal and spatial coverage, cross-validation, data assimilation techniques, water models, agent based models. The session will also consider key lessons learned and best practices emerged from ongoing projects, academic research and practitioners experience.

Thematic Focus

  • Innovative platforms for collecting, handling, processing and storing of citizen-generated environmental data

Europe has invested a lot in infrastructure to achieve an accurate Earth observation capacity. Initiatives such as Copernicus provide a mapping of forest areas, wetlands or artificial surfaces; yet, the burden of investing in new equipment or maintaining the current infrastructure is unsustainable. Ways of complementing the in-situ infrastructure with citizen-sourced data at a low cost are currently investigated. Recognizing that citizen participation in environmental policy making is in its infancy and that citizens feel unable to influence environmental policies, smart ICT technologies and models should be employed to alleviate this barrier. This session will focus on the use of smart technologies and methods that will enable citizens to support the policy makers by monitoring LandCover/LandUse changes as part of their everyday activities augmenting the in-situ infrastructure with a people-generated observation web. The presented technologies as they emanate from the SCENT project, include crowdsourcing tools, serious gaming applications, in-situ and portable sensors while the methods will focus on interoperable standards, machine learning algorithms and modelling frameworks.


  • Citizen observatories: stakeholder motivations and impacts
  • Public participation mechanisms
  • Technical and legal aspects of the acquisition and use of citizen-generated data

Citizen Observatories are emerging as an instrument for supporting community-based environmental decision making. Citizen involvement is in fact also strongly recommended by several European Directives (e.g. 2000/60, 2007/60/EC) that require the establishment of public participation mechanisms for their implementation. This raises questions on how to achieve and successfully maintain citizen involvement, community-based decision making and effective and fruitful participation via citizen observatories in view of diverse organizational, legal and societal aspects.

This session will focus on engagement strategies to enhance citizen participation in public governance, on leveraging incentives and addressing barriers for citizen participation and data sharing, including legal aspects . The session will also consider key lessons learned, best practices and experiences that emerge from ongoing projects as well as it will be an opportunity for exploring new collaborations.

Thematic Focus

  • Designing for impact: levering the social innovation potential of citizen observatories for science, policy and practice


    Citizen observatories are community-based environmental monitoring and engagement systems for collective knowledge co-creation for science, policy and practice. By fostering collective interaction between different stakeholders, citizen observatories (COs) can empower citizens and communities to drive science, provide them with an increased influence in policy and decision making, and enable them to be part of the solution for local and global environmental challenges. In order to achieve their desired societal outcomes, COs rely on the careful combination of social processes and technological tools, involving citizens at every step of the way. This interactive carousel session will share experiences from the Ground Truth 2.0 project to explore how we can leverage the social innovation potential of COs while addressing the social and technical challenges related to developing sustainable citizen observatories. ‘Voting with their feet’ by attending a select number of stations, participants can discuss different aspects, such as co-designing COs, engaging citizens, utilizing COs to empower women, tackling interoperability, integrating data and making COs sustainable.


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