Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our recent publication in the
International Journal of Geo-Information, special issue "Geoinformatics in
Citizen Science":

Hann, Courtney H., Lei Lani Stelle, Andrew Szabo, and Leigh G. Torres.
2018. Obstacles and Opportunities of Using a Mobile App for Marine Mammal
Research. International Journal of Geo-Information 7(5), 169;  doi:
10.3390/ijgi7050169 <>

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This study investigates the use of a mobile application, Whale mAPP, as a
citizen science tool for collecting marine mammal sighting data. In just
over three months, 1261 marine mammal sightings were observed and recorded
by 39 citizen scientists in Southeast Alaska. The resulting data, along
with a preliminary and post-Whale mAPP questionnaires, were used to
evaluate the tool’s scientific, educational, and engagement feasibility. A
comparison of Whale mAPP Steller sea lion distribution data to a scientific
dataset were comparable (91% overlap) given a high enough sample size (*n* =
73) and dense spatial coverage. In addition, after using Whale mAPP for two
weeks, citizen scientists improved their marine mammal identification
skills and self-initiated further learning, representing preliminary steps
in developing an engaging citizen science project. While the app
experienced high initial enthusiasm, maintaining prolonged commitment
represents one of the fundamental challenges for this project. Increasing
participation with targeted recruitment and sustained communication will
help combat the limitations of sample size and spatial coverage. Overall,
this study emphasizes the importance of early evaluation of the educational
and scientific outcomes of a citizen science project, so that limitations
are recognized and reduced

Have a great day,
Courtney Hann
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