Data Challenge Winner

Posted by: GLOS_Admin October 27, 2016

The Great Lakes Observing System celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2016, and the Data Challenge was an opportunity for the Great Lakes data sharing community to get involved. In June GLOS released the terms of the competition, and in mid August the submissions came in. While the original goal was to give multiple awards in separate categories, the number of submissions led to the entries being combined into a single category with a grand prize.

Submissions were creative and varied, and the decision was made. Congratulations to The Water Rangers, whose interactive map helps citizens combine their data with open data available through the GLOS data portal.

“We really liked the way the Water Rangers used the data from the GLOS portal, made it easier to consume, and then added the citizen science aspect,” said GLOS Executive Director Kelli Paige. “As we expand what it means to be part of the data sharing community, platforms like this one will help us bridge the gap between traditional data sources and other origins.”

Kat Kavanagh attended the GLOS annual meeting and presented the Water Ranger project.

“GLOS has great data, so we wanted to find a way to simplify it and import it so that citizens could then contribute to monitoring the water. So, we took a daily reading from your buoys and recorded it so that the dataset wasn’t so enormous. Our platform then allowed anyone to add things like photos, or their own observations” Kavanagh explained. “We wanted to reconnect people to the great work you’re doing in an interactive way! We also wanted it to be easy for people to search our map, so we allowed them to filter by group, or by parameter. For example, you could say “Show me all the GLOS data points” and then “Show me all the GLOS data points that have temperature.” We also built a basic API (application programming interface) so that anyone can access our data.”

When asked “What’s next?” Kavanagh answered “Our next step is to work on how we can make the site even more valuable for groups to use it to collect data and encourage citizen participation.”

Stakeholders from around the basin acknowledge that the Great Lakes need fresh ideas and collaborations to keep up with data demands.

check award

Jane Ruvolo (l, Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s office) joined Kat Kavanagh (m) and Kelli Paige (r) at the GLOS annual meeting.

“Congratulations to The Water Rangers for sharing their unique citizen science program in support of the Great Lakes, our treasured life source,” said U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, District 9, Ohio.  “ For the forty million people who depend on this valuable freshwater system, good water quality is of the utmost importance.  Citizens are asking for ways they can join the fight for our region’s sustainable future.”

View the Water Rangers’  app video here.

Use the Water Rangers’ app here.

GLOS wishes to thank everyone who participated, sent in their great ideas, and also the sponsors who made the contest interesting.


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