Citizen science monitors volcanoes
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) People living near active volcanoes can play a vital role in the monitoring and management of environmental hazards, according to research presented at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) international conference in London.
Citizen science projects that fly kites and remote-controlled quadcopters (a helicopter propelled by four rotors) to take aerial photographs and video of volcanic processes could reduce hazard risk worldwide, Jonathan Stone of the University of East Anglia told the conference.
As part of the research, acommunity-based monitoring system was established on the Caribbean islandof Montserrat, half of which is still covered in ash from a devastating eruption in 1995.
Local residentsuse kites to take aerial photographs of the island, as well as using GPS surveys, to monitor how the landscape is changing as a result of volcanic mudflows."Some of the best citizen science projects are based on very simple observations," Jonathan says.
The research is a response to a call made by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) for greater community involvement in risk reduction. It finds that citizen science can increase local knowledge of geographical processes, build trust in professional scientists and help to manage uncertainty.
He explains: "If you want citizen science project to last more than a month or two, you need to make sure that data collection is a fun and useful thing to do. Who doesn't want to fly a kite or a quadcopter with a camera attached to it?" Mr Stone and his colleagues have flown their remote-controlled quadcopter above flows from the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador. "The quadcopter is an excellent upgrade to the kite as it is suitable for all but the windiest occasions and is ridiculously easy to fly."
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Mr Jonathon Stone's presentation (Exploring the roles of citizen science in reducing volcanic risk: a community based monitoring case study) is taking place on Friday Aug 30 at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) annual international conference in London, being held between August 27 - 30. It's the largest gathering of academic geographers in Europe, with more than 300 sessions, attracting more than 1,500 delegates from 50 countries. Full details on the RGS-IBG annual International Conference 2013 can be found atwww.rgs.org/AC2013
The Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830, our Royal Charter of 1859 is for 'the advancement of geographical science'. Today, we deliver this objective by developing, supporting and promoting geography through research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, and public engagement, while also providing geographical input to policy. We aim to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. We hold the world's largest private geographical collection and provide public access to it. We have a thriving Fellowship and membership and offer the professional accreditation 'Chartered Geographer'
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