WeObserve: An ecosystem of citizen observatories for environmental monitoring

How will building a sustainable ecosystem of citizen observatories help move citizen science into the mainstream?

The rising trend in citizen science has led to the development of Citizen Observatories (COs) for environmental monitoring, which has been supported by the European Commission under FP7 and H2020. To improve the coordination between existing COs and related regional, European, and international activities, the WeObserve project, coordinated by IIASA researchers, will tackle three key challenges that face COs: awareness, acceptability, and sustainability. The WeObserve mission is to create a sustainable ecosystem of COs that can systematically address these identified challenges and move citizen science to the mainstream.



WeObserve will apply several key instruments to target, connect, and coordinate relevant stakeholders, with specific project objectives detailed as follows:

  • Objective 1: Develop communities of practice around key topics to assess the current CO knowledge base and strengthen it to tackle future environmental challenges using CO-driven science
  • Objective 2: Extend the geographical coverage of the CO knowledge base to new communities and support the implementation of best practices and standards across multiple sectors
  • Objective 3: Demonstrate the added value of COs in environmental monitoring mechanisms within regional and global initiatives such as GEOSS, Copernicus and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Objective 4: Promote the uptake of information from CO-powered activities across various sectors and foster new opportunities and innovation in the business of in-situ earth observation


To achieve these objectives, the WeObserve project brings together a strong consortium built upon the four currently funded H2020 COs - Ground Truth 2.0, GROW, LandSense (coordinated by IIASA), and Scent - with strong ties to a wide range of networks (ECSA), users and stakeholders (GEO and Copernicus (CREAF)), which have active roles within the project. The project also has strong ties to the previously funded FP7 COs through the consortium itself as well as the Advisory Board. A core function of WeObserve will be to bring these different stakeholders together in different interactive events to create a welcoming spirit and proliferate citizen science across various communities. The WeObserve process and its anticipated outcomes will have considerable potential to create a step-change in participatory environmental monitoring.

Funder: European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 776740

Funder: European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 776740

Print this page

Last edited: 09 November 2017


Steffen Fritz

Program Director:Senior Research Scholar

Strategic Initiatives Program|Novel Data Ecosystems For Sustainability Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 353

Linda See

Senior Research Scholar

Novel Data Ecosystems For Sustainability Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 423

Inian Moorthy

Research Scholar

Novel Data Ecosystems For Sustainability Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 465


Dec 2017 - Nov 2020


Laso Bayas, J.C., See, L. , Fritz, S., Sturn, T., Perger, C., Dürauer, M., Karner, M., Moorthy, I., et al. (2016). Crowdsourcing In-Situ Data on Land Cover and Land Use Using Gamification and Mobile Technology. Remote Sensing 8 (11), e905. 10.3390/rs8110905.

See, L. , Fritz, S., Dias, E., Hendriks, E., Mijling, B., Snik, F., Stammes, P., Vescovi, F.D., et al. (2016). Supporting Earth-Observation Calibration and Validation: A new generation of tools for crowdsourcing and citizen science. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine 4 (3), 38-50. 10.1109/MGRS.2015.2498840.

See, L. , McCallum, I., Liu, W. , Keating, A., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., Mochizuki, J. , Fritz, S., Dugar, S., et al. (2016). The potential of crowdsourcing and mobile technology to support flood disaster risk reduction. In: European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2016, 17–22 April 2016, Vienna, Austria.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313