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Creek Watch

Creek Watch

Creek Watch is a free iPhone application designed to help citizen scientists monitor the health of their local watershed. Whenever passing by a waterway, citizen scientists can spend a few seconds using the Creek Watch application to snap a picture and report how much water and trash they see. IBM, which created the app, aggregates the data and share it with water control boards to help them track pollution and manage water resources.

The Creek Watch App uses four pieces of data to help watershed groups, agencies and scientists track pollution, manage water resources, and plan environmental programs:
The amount of water: empty, some or full.
The rate of flow: still, moving slowly or moving fast.
The amount of trash: none, some (a few pieces), or a lot (10 or more pieces).
A picture of the waterway.

Creek Watch is a project developed at IBM Research - Almaden in consultation with the California State Water Resources Control Board's Clean Water Team.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: N/A
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: IBM Research - Almaden
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Download the Creek Watch app from the iTunes store.

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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