By 2030, the catastrophic impact of the climate crisis would be irreversible if we keep the business-as-usual. With an increase of 1.5℃, 80-90% of the coral reef would disappear and virtually all (>99%) would be lost when the global temperature reaches 2℃ increase. Urgent action is needed.
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Climate researchers and activists are in a race against time and rich fossil lobbyists. Their current strong weapon is relying on global movement and scientific data on the climate crisis to push the acceleration of climate action and. Therefore, reliable data management and collection tools are crucial.
It has been well-known that human-induced emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) is a large culprit in increasing the acceleration of global warming and climate change . After the declaration of the Paris Agreement and the launch of the Katowice Rulebook, countries around the globe are prepared to address the issue and take initiatives in many sectors to tackle the challenge [2,3].
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports by scientists from around the world provide recommendations on various possible actions to the national policymakers to tackle climate change . However, behind this report, there is a struggle for a field scientist who collects and analyse the data before it can be presented.
Environmental researchers and change-makers today are equipped with a powerful device in their pocket: their smartphones. From reporting with videos the effects of industrial pollution to collecting data on the rise of waterlines, the smartphone has become an invaluable platform for qualitative and quantitative data collection methods.
In this article, we explore how field data collection apps can be impactful in evidence-based climate action and how environmental scientists today use data entry forms in the field to accurately manage their data.
Effective data collection and analysis of environmental research is crucial. Without accurate field results, researchers cannot present good measurement for various policy implementations. Not only in climate research but also in the conservation field, good data collection is fundamental to measure the effectiveness of the conservation action towards nature and wildlife protection.
Field research is usually faced with data collection challenges  such as conflict with authorities during data collection , difficulties to retrieve field data on the ground, manual data input, longevity of consistent data collection  and a lack of internet access, which can lead to inefficient collaborative action. Data effectiveness and longevity are necessary for research which measures variables over an extended period of time. However, paper on the epidemiology of monitoring from the Journal of the American Water Resources Association showed that 30% of the monitoring program study couldn’t provide sufficient and consistent information which are crucial for the project objective while 27% of the research being analysed had an issue in delays in analysing the data .
Scientists need data to answer their questions. Depending on their data collection method they will choose a solution that is better suited. The most common method of collecting data is by using data entry forms. These forms can be on paper, which requires the data afterwards to be manually transcribed to a database for analysis, or digitally, in which case the data is automatically in a spreadsheet format and ready for data cleaning and analysis.
Mobile data collection apps, like Teamscope, make it possible for scientists to build forms and use them on smartphone or tablets. Mobile data collection makes it easy for field scientists to collect accurate environmental data, whether that is emission pollution monitoring, water pollution monitoring, soil sampling, tree surveys, conservation monitoring or wildlife tracking.
Another challenge that is faced by field scientists or environmental professionals is limited internet access or being offline. The lack of internet while working in remote areas can be a reason to rely on paper forms to collect data in the field. While many popular online data collection software, like Google Forms, require an internet connection, mobile data collection apps like Teamscope, allow scientists to collect data while offline and upload it to the cloud once they regain internet access.
Mobile data collection opens a realm of possibilities in terms of quality and richness of data. With features like case management, scientists can create cases and track them across time. A case can be anything: a natural resource, an animal or a water sample. The crucial benefit of using case management when collecting environmental data is that any longitudinal measurements of a case is automatically aggregated, making it easy to compare the changes or development of that case across time.
Geographic data comes hand-in-hand with environmental research. With the advent of GPS sensors on smartphones and tablets, researchers can power-up their mobile forms by including GPS fields. Collecting GPS coordinates directly on a mobile form helps researchers not only gather accurate data but build datasets that include geographic information, like coordinates and altitude.
GPS data collection on Teamscope is only available at the moment on our iOS app. GPS coordinates are soon to come for our Android app.
Soil and water sampling often requires data collection from different locations or parts of the world. Sharing data is the only way to unite forces and gain strength in numbers. With mobile data collection researchers can invite scientists located in different areas to contribute by collecting standardized data.
Climate activists can often feel like they are fighting against goliath. A battle between large corporations vs. community-based organizations. The latter is moved by the responsibility to future generations to not stay with our arms crossed and complacent.
With the rise of new technologies like social media and mobile data collection this balance has changed. Grassroot organizations can achieve the same exposure to large corporations and gather the necessary evidence to confirm their hypotheses.
Mobile data collection solutions, like Teamscope, are a powerful tool in climate change mitigation and environmental research, they allows researchers to easily collect valuable environmental data regardless where they are and build richer data sets with other activists and scientists.
If you are planning on doing climate change research and need to collect field data, signup today for a free trial of Teamscope.