Global Lake Ecological Observatory (GLEON) members began developing a mobile application for citizen scientists to record lake and water quality observations in 2010. The app was originally developed by computer and ecological scientists in partnership with citizens working with the Lake Sunapee Protective Association (LSPA) and Maine lake associations in the US. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and partners are leading a project to further develop and beta test Android and iOS versions of the Lake Observer app for worldwide use.
The Lake Observer app is designed to allow for easy submission of geo-referenced data, using a smartphone or tablet, including observations of weather, water (temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and Secchi depth), ice cover, and aquatic vegetation (macrophytes, algae, metaphyton).
In December 2014, GLEON teamed up with Esri and the US Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the White House Data Initiative to further develop Lake Observer and create a crowd-sourcing platform to facilitate the collection and sharing of lake- and water-related information across the globe.
The project team plans to launch a pilot of the Lake Observer app in June 2015 and will be looking for GLEON research scientists and citizen scientists to test the app and provide feedback. Additional features resulting from the partnership with Esri and USGS are expected later in 2015.
The Lake Observer app is the result of a collaborative effort of student programmers working under the direction of the project leadership team to develop the app.
The project team thanks Dr. David Richardson, SUNY New Paltz, for engagement during the initial stages of app development.