Young people see the problems the Earth faces and want to be involved in providing solutions. Believing that geospatial technologies bring people together, Eduardo Dias of Geodan presented EarthWatchers, a program that empowers global citizens to monitor global problems.
EarthWatchers is a citizen scientist program that gives young people tools for studying environmental concerns and sharing their ideas with one another. They choose a global issue that interests them such as deforestation in Borneo, which impacts orangutan habitat. They join the project and are assigned an area, which they are responsible for monitoring. Deforestation in Indonesia can be seen by satellite.
Young researchers can download EarthWatchers’ tools from earthwatchers.cloudapp.net. They then monitor their area watching for changes in forest coverage.
If a researcher sees a problem, she flags the area where deforestation is evident. The participant can also access information from an image service about the state of the forest and see changes occurring over the last 30 years. She sends out an alert and a ground team of volunteers do the ground-checking to confirm the change. The field team sends its findings back to the researcher.
Earth Watchers is about empowering young people to be future leaders who will help our planet.