Science has no Borders: DIY sensing & mapping for environmental monitoring

  • April 19, 2012 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

We'll be meeting in Room G07, Chadwick Bldg., University College London. See you there!

Let's roll up our sleeves and get a project started! *No prerequisites! No science background needed!Citizens without Borders like you and me can now get involved in investigating and doing something about issues that matter in our community.


This is a quick note to let you know that the date for "Science has no borders" (previously Science by Citizens) has beenmoved ahead to the 19th of April because I am happy to inform you that we were able to secure some funding for the project!!

I will be preparing a brief to present the aims and scope of the project within the parameters of the funding as well as ways you can get involved in this hands-on, community-lead, capacity building project.

Below is an excerpt from the initiative:

"The 'Science has no borders: real life DIY sensing and mapping techniques for environmental monitoring in London' proposal has been awarded an Inclusion Award to begin setting the foundations towards a sustainable society by engaging communities who are usually not involved in carrying out scientific research. This funding will allow us to take the first step in starting a civic science project with deprived communities in London and work closely with the US-based organisation Public Laboratory for Open Science and Technology.

The idea is to engage people as community researchers to develop and deploy their own DIY investigative toolkit that will enable them to critically and actively examine, identify and address environmental issues such as (but not limited to) heat loss and air quality. With DIY tools, communities can become investigators of the subjects of concern to them, and through the process, come to understand and own the results. Once data is collected and interpreted, community researchers can leverage it to influence and convince journalists, scientists and policymakers. The community will also share their findings, stories and innovations in an online community map and as open-knowledge with the global community Grassroots Mapping Forum as wiki articles, how-to videos and pictures.


Want to get involved in a project in which you make a difference in your community while exploring and learning about the world around you? Then join us to learn how you can get involved in a radical Citizen Science project here in London!

But hold on a second, what is radical Citizen Science? Radical Citizen Science is a grassroots approach to research. It is science by citizens where people take ownership over an issue that concerns them. These issues can range from social awareness (e.g. services for the disabled or homelessness) to environmental monitoring (e.g. air, water and noise pollution)

But how can citizens do science? A "new" grassroots movement for science is developing fast and there are many resources and tools available for anyone to get involved. Through citizen science people from all backgrounds can collect, analyse and act on information by using adaptable scientific methods with which they can advocate for change and support their case. Science is not confined to lab coats and microscopes; science is about the methods people use to collect information about their environment and how they analyse it: systematic, repeatable, agreed upon methods.

Citizen Science is not new

Famous projects include, Feeder WatchGalaxy ZooZooniverse and ReCaptcha [video]. These projects contribute to broadening the knowledge of our environment and in the process it may give you a sense of satisfaction. However,in these projects you are still in a sense, used as a sensor. Projects such as have made a tremendous effort in placing more emphasis on the "citizen" part of citizen science by creating projects that are meaningful to the participants. One of their principles is to value and respect participants. However, even in these very valuable and visionary projects the participant is just that: a participant.

Radical Citizen Science lets you take an issue in your own hands, framing the issue, posing the challenge and connecting with the resources and people that you need to make it happen. One of these resources is the Public Laboratory with whom we did a balloon mapping demo and Arduino with whom we built a humidity and temperature sensor and thermal flashlight at the recent Citizen CyberScience Summit.

Learn more about how how to get involved at this intro session:

What: Radical Citizen Science - grassroots science for real life problems. Get involved!

When: tentative date is Sat. March 3rd but yet to be confirmed

Where: UCL room TBA


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  • Ted

    Great to see this take the next step! I'm keen to do what I can...

    May 3, 2012

  • Cindy

    Hi All, we will most likely work with the Mildmay Community Partnership (near Dalston Kingsland) in our initiative Science has no borders: DIY sensing & mapping for environmental monitoring. I will be sending you a formal invitation to meet leaders of the partnership. There will be an reopening and renaming ceremony of
    Mildmay Community Centre next week and I will send an invite for that as well.

    May 3, 2012

  • Cindy

    For those who are interested in getting an introduction to Arduino (the electronic board that forms the'brain' of a few of the DIY sensing tools available for all) please take a look here in Instructables > > Instructables is a great place to share all your DIY ideas and learn what amazing things are coming up with!!

    April 22, 2012

  • Ted

    Great inspiration from across the pond (Shannon from Louisiana via video link)! Also many good ideas from the participants - it opened my mind to the empowering and transformational effects that DIY and extreme citizen science can have on people!

    April 20, 2012

  • shrikant s.

    It was just awesome..... Cindy was good as usual.

    April 20, 2012

  • Cindy

    Introductory video for Air Quality Egg:
    Information about Air Quality Egg with links to instructions:
    ~ I will also create a pamphlet with all the DIY tools and resources (including ones I did not mention) in a downloadable format. Please be patient as it might take some time for me to make this but will inform you when ready.

    April 20, 2012

  • Cindy

    Thank you to all of those who came to this introductory event. Here are some useful links to the resources that were mentioned yesterday:
    Public Laboratory for Open Science and Technology:
    Public Laboratory Tools:

    April 20, 2012

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