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Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing

This research theme focuses on using citizen science to improve our understanding of hazards and how to prepare and respond better. The theme includes developing innovative and cost-effective warning systems for high-impact weather events like cyclones, tornadoes, floods, and wildfires. It also explores using community-based sensor networks to monitor air pollution, CO2 levels, and other environmental hazards.


The research will examine the potential of citizen science to improve disaster response and recovery efforts by leveraging the knowledge and expertise of local communities. The theme will explore the feasibility of citizen-led monitoring networks and how they can be integrated into existing emergency management systems. The research will also focus on understanding citizen science's societal benefits and challenges in disaster and emergency management.

High-impact weather and citizen science 

Description: The research project focuses on the use of citizen science in improving the effectiveness of early warning systems. The project investigates how citizen science initiatives can contribute to filling the gaps and addressing the challenges faced in the warning value chain, such as user engagement, communication of uncertainty in warnings, validation of data from social media, and data quality control. The project involves the implementation of citizen science projects for observations, weather, hazard, and impact forecasting, warning communication, and decision-making, and the evaluation of the impact of these initiatives on the performance of early warning systems. It could also investigate the challenges and limitations of using citizen science data and propose strategies to address them. 

Led by: Marion Tan

Status: Ongoing 

Low-cost air quality monitoring

Description: The project aims to investigate the feasibility of citizen science-based air quality networks in wildfire crisis management in New Zealand. By addressing both technological and social challenges, the project seeks to increase public understanding of air quality issues and provide timely information to health emergency managers during crises. Key questions include the reliability of data from low-cost sensors, user engagement with the information, and the potential for integrating data with existing regulatory networks. Through collaboration with emergency management organizations, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and iwi/mana whenua, the project aims to enhance community resilience and reduce the impacts of wildfires and air quality hazards by informing policy decisions and fostering a community of practice.


Led by: Carol Stewart

Status: Ongoing 



Tan, M.L., Hoffmann, D., Ebert, E., Cui, A., Johnston, D., (2022). Exploring the potential role of citizen science in the warning value chain for high impact weather. Frontiers in Communication.  


Vinnell, L. J., Becker, J. S., Scolobig, A., Johnston, D. M., Tan, M. L., McLaren, L.  (2021). Citizen science initiatives in high-impact weather and disaster risk reduction. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies.


Tan, M.L., Harrison, S., Becker, J., Doyle, E.E.H, Prasanna, R (2020). Research Themes on Warnings in Information Systems Crisis Management Literature. ISCRAM 2020 Conference Proceedings – 17th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management.


Goded, T., Tan, M. L., Becker, J. S., Horspool, N., Canessa, S., Huso, R., Johnston, D. M. (2021). Using citizen data to understand earthquake impacts: Aotearoa New Zealand's earthquake Felt Reports. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies.

Other Research Themes

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