Putting Christmas Gifts To Good Use

Three ways to use your camera for citizen science

Photo Credit: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

If you're getting someone on your Christmas list a mobile device with a camera, why not also tell them how they can use it to do Earth science research? This week, I cover three projects you can join if you know how to take decent digital pictures.

S'COOL: If you're a fan of clouds, this project is for you. S'COOL is designed to provide "ground truth" observations of clouds and cloud formations. The data is correlated with overhead satellite imagery from the CERES instrument. CERES stands for Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy Sytem. It is now orbiting the Earth as part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise to study the ways in which clouds may affect the Earth's climate. Sign up as a school, a classroom, or as an individual citizen scientist.

Picture Post: Here's one for the woodworker/photographer on your list. Picture Post is a part of the Digital Earth Watch (DEW) network. DEW conducts environmental monitoring through digital photography and satellite imagery. In this project you use an 8-sided platform for taking overlapping photographs of the entire landscape around you and an "up" picture of the sky. To participate, you'll need to build a special, but simple octagon-shaped post, and to upload photos.

SatCam: SatCam is another project where you capture observations of sky and ground conditions when an Earth observation satellite is overhead. The apps works with the Terra, Aqua, and Suomi NPP satellites; whenever you make an observation, you get an image from the satellite above!

Chandra Clarke is a Webby Honoree-winning blogger, a successful entrepreneur, and an author. Her book Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science is available at Amazon. You can connect with her on Twitter @chandraclarke.