1. Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program
  2. Competitive Programs
  3. Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program (CSESP)

Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program (CSESP)

NASA's Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program (CSESP) is focused on developing and implementing projects that harness contributions from members of the general public to advance our understanding of the Earth as a system. CSESP complements NASA’s ability to observe the Earth from space, air, land, and water by engaging the public in our mission to "drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, space exploration, economic vitality, and stewardship of the Earth." CSESP also helps meet NASA’s 2014 Strategic Goal 2.2 to "advance knowledge of Earth as a system to meet the challenges of environmental change and to improve life on our planet.”

Learn more about NASA’s 2018 Strategic Goals.

Bladen Lakes LOCSS

CSESP advances the use of citizen contributions to Earth science research by directly supporting citizen science activities and by deploying technology to further citizen involvement in research. For the purpose of this solicitation, citizen science is defined as efforts or projects that use voluntary public participation in the scientific endeavor. Crowdsourcing, another frequently used term describing voluntary contributions, is also included under “citizen science” in this solicitation. Citizen science includes, but is not limited to:

  • formulating research questions
  • conducting experiments
  • collecting and analyzing data collected by citizen and/or professional scientists
  • interpreting results
  • making new discoveries; and/or
  • developing technologies and applications.

The 2016 CSESP solicitation sought proposals to address the above-stated goals through one or both of the following:

  • Projects using citizen science for research on biodiversity and conservation biology, atmospheric composition, water, energy cycle and surface water topography, and physical oceanography.
  • Citizen science data collection using calibrated low-cost off-the-shelf components that can be widely deployed.

Read more about CSESP.

CSESP Phases

CSESP awards are made in the form of cooperative agreements via two phases: Prototype Phase and Implementation Phase.

Prototype Phase

Sonoma landscape showing a man walking out to a field to place portable sound recorders.

From Soundscapes to Landscapes: Monitoring Animal Biodiversity seeks to combine ambient recordings with satellite data to advance animal biodiversity monitoring.

Sixteen proposals were selected via an independent review panel for a 13-month Prototype Phase period. These projects addressed real-world problems at local, regional, continental, or global scales. They complemented NASA satellite observations with increased temporal or spatial sampling, contributed to the validation of NASA data products derived from satellite observations, deployed innovative sensors to measure our environment, or used other innovations to enhance the utility of NASA’s observation systems in space, air, land, and water.

All projects demonstrated linkages between citizen science and NASA satellite observations. After the Prototype Phase, all CSESP-funded projects underwent an independent review. Six of the 16 projects were selected for continued funding during the three-year Implementation Phase.

2016 CSESP Projects – Prototype Phase

  • A Citizen Science Campaign to Validate Snow Remote Sensing Products, Anthony Arendt (University of Washington, Seattle)
  • Alaska Testbed for the Fusion of Citizen Science and Remote Sensing, John Walsh (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
  • Can Citizen Science and Low-Cost Sensors Help Improve Earth System Data? Implications to Current and Next Generation of Space-Based Air Quality Measurements, Prakash Doraiswamy (Research Triangle Institute)
  • Citizen Science in Urban Regions to Address Satellite Subpixel Uncertainties in the Vegetation, Climate, and Air Quality Nexus, George Jenerette (University of California, Riverside)
  • Citizen-Enabled Aerosol Measurements for Satellites (CEAMS): A Network for High-Resolution Measurements of PM2.5 and Aerosol Optical Depth, John Volckens (Colorado State University)
  • Cloud Forecasting and 3-D Radiative Transfer Model Validation using Citizen-Sourced Imagery, Albin Gasiewski (University of Colorado, Boulder)
  • Coral Bleaching Assessment through Remote Sensing and Integrated Citizen Science (CoralBASICS), Juan Torres-Perez (Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Inc.)
  • Crowdsourced Imagery and Ancillary Observations for Drought Monitoring and Agricultural Applications, Andrew Molthan (Marshall Space Flight Center)
  • Data Mining Twitter for Augmenting NASA Precipitation Research and Applications, William Teng (ADNET Systems, Inc.)
  • Development, Testing and Implementation of Low Cost and Effective In Situ Soil Moisture Sensor for Citizen Science, Narendra Das (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
  • From Soundscapes to Landscapes: Monitoring Animal Biodiversity from Space Using Citizen Scientists, Matthew Clark (Sonoma State University)
  • Mosquito Mappers, Russanne Low (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies)
  • Re-wilding Urban Environments: Integrating Remote Sensing and Citizen Science to Study the Environmental Context and Ecological Consequences of Returning Avian Predators, Benjamin Zuckerberg (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • Stream Tracker: Crowd Sourcing and Remote Sensing to Monitor Stream Flow Intermittence, Stephanie Kampf (Colorado State University)
  • Tracking Water Storage in Lakes: Citizens and Satellites, Tamlin Pavelsky (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  • Using Citizen Science to Understand Thirty Years of Change in Global Kelp Cover by Expanding the Zooniverse to NASA Satellite Imagery, Jarrett Byrnes (University of Massachusetts, Boston)

Implementation Phase

Kelp Macrocystis 650

Kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, in Murray Channel, Chile (by Graham Edgar). Citizen scientists are helping to identify kelp forests which don’t always show clearly in satellite imagery. Kelp’s reflectance signature (the color of light that it reflects) is just at the edge of Landsat’s detection abilities.

The 16 prototype projects submitted final reports in January 2018. The reports described progress made and milestones achieved during the Prototype Phase and also proposed a work plan for the three-year Implementation Phase. Based on these reports, an independent panel of experts selected six projects for continued funding during the three-year Implementation Phase. These projects were chosen based on success (both scientific and citizen engagement) during the Prototype Phase, relevance to NASA’s mission and objectives, and intrinsic scientific merit.

Implementation Projects

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2019 at 8:10 AM EDT