App Created at MDI Bio Lab gets Citizens Involved with Science

Published: Jan. 17, 2018 at 4:41 PM EST
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If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of scientific research, a new app is allowing citizen volunteers to do just that.

“Anecdata is an online platform for crowd-sourcing environmental data,” explained Director of Education Jane Disney. “The primary use of this site is by different groups that need to collect large amounts of data and share data to try and effect change in their communities.”

Users can contribute observations or pictures to scientific projects and stay up to date with any results the research might find. A science background is not required to use the app.

“We've designed it to be super user friendly and it kind of mimics social media a little bit so it haves the same principals where you can create a profile for a project or for yourself,” said data Specialist Ashley Taylor.

“In real-time, you're seeing people contributing and you're seeing how your data is stacking up and being part of the larger project and community.”

The app is a mobile version of the website Anecdata dot org. It is available through the iTunes store and has already collected thousands of contributions worldwide.

“The more data points or the more observations you can collect, the stronger your information will be and that’s just something that one researcher or a group of researchers just at this point might not have the time or the funding to do,” said Taylor.

The app is an excellent tool for collecting large amounts of data while educating and engaging local communities.

“It helps to break down the barriers between the public and researchers,” said Disney. “So people being to understand how science works because they are part of the process.”