I am not sure this deserves the title of a hack, but it was originally meant to be.Since the last Citizen Cyberscience Hackfest in South Africa last November, I have wanted to try EpiCollect, a tool for crowdsourced data collection/citizen science. The interesting thing with EpiCollect is that it automatically generates an Android and an iPhone app. The app also allows you to store entries on your device and upload them when you have network access, which is handy if you want to collect data out in the wild. Finally, the app takes full advantage of the GPS in the smartphones and geocodes the photos and any other data entered by participants in a project and automatically places the data on a Google map. Nice.
This all sounds really cool so at the .Astronomy 4 meeting in Heidelberg, I proposed to develop an app to collect information about astronomical facilities around the world, including old, abandoned observatories, flashy new ones, future ones and archeo-astronomical sites. This would simply be a lovely illustration of the claim that astronomy is one of the oldest of sciences and part of our human heritage.
So on the Sunday evening before .Astronomy, I thought I would prepare for the Astronomy Hack Day and take a closer look at EpiCollect. Well, the hack was done in 15 minutes and no programming whatsoever was required. So much for a hack. Nevertheless, here it is, and it is eagerly awaiting other astronomers (pro and amateur) to join the programme and help us take photos of astronomical facilities worldwide.
How you can join:
If you wish to make your own crowdsourced data collection project, it’s as simple as this!