Helpful Tools

Blick auf Smartphone in Hand und Wald © Pixabay/free

Here you will find tips and online tools that can be used, among other things, for Citizen Science projects, surveys and data visualization, mostly free of charge. Further tools can also be found on the European platform EU-Citizen.Science.

The list makes no claim to completeness. We are happy to accept further suggestions at .

Toolkits for Project Planning

  • The toolkit of the EU project "ACTION" focuses on Citizen Science against pollution, but other types of projects can also benefit from it.
     
  • The EU project "WeObserve" developed the WeObserve-Toolkit classified in four categories: "Co-designing / co-creating your observatory", "Training & data collection for environmental monitoring", "Data quality and visualisation" and "Evaluation and advocacy".
     
  • The Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit is a treasure trove for materials related to Citizen Science, e.g. for scientific publications or case studies. Here you can also find a guide for the creation of projects.
     
  • The CitieS-Health Toolkit provides insight into participatory methods for different phases of the project, from identifying potential research questions to community building to implementation and dissemination of project results.

Platforms for Project Creation

  • CitSci.org is a Colorado State University platform for creating online projects and performing data analysis and comparison.
     
  • Citizen Science Project Builder is an open, free and simple tool from the Citizen Science Center Zurich for creating a project to collect and analyse data.
     
  • Pybossa is a freely available platform for creating online projects. PyBossa must be installed to use it, and a step-by-step guide helps build your own project.
     
  • Wildlife Sightings is a platform for creating projects in the field of nature observation. No programming knowledge is required.
     
  • Zooniverse also offers the possibility to create your own citizen science project and present it as an official Zooniverse project on the platform.

Creating your own Smartphone App

  • With Cyber tracker you can create a smartphone app (Android) for GPS data collection free of charge. Programming knowledge is not necessary.
     
  • With Epicollect you can collect individualised geotag information together with pictures free of charge via smartphone (Android and iPhone) and present it on a project website which has been created specifically for this purpose.
     
  • SPOTTERON is a commercial system for applications in the fields of citizen science, environmental protection and volunteer monitoring. All projects powered by SPOTTERON consist of individual smartphone apps for iOS and Android and an interactive map app for the browser. 
     
  • Geoodk is an open source platform for projects working with GIS information. Geographic data can be collected, edited and visualized via apps. This tutorial offers a detailed introduction. No programming knowledge required.
     
  • On the Stack Overflow platform, people with programming skills can get help with their app development. Questions can be asked and answers written in a forum with a very large community.

Do-It-Yourself-Tools

The Public Lab provides simple and cheap do-it-yourself tools for researching/monitoring the local environment (air, water, land). It will enable local communities/individuals to identify environmental problems autonomously and thus raise awareness.

Software for Volunteer Computing

Boinc is an open source software for distributed computing (“volunteer computing”).

Editing of Texts, Images, Audio and Videos

Office Suite

  • Libre Office is a good and free alternative to Microsoft Office: Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (Powerpoint), etc.

Image viewer & image management

  • XNView is a free tool for viewing and converting images and image libraries.
     
  • GIMP is the free alternative to Photoshop, although with higher operating hurdles and fewer possibilities.
     
  • Inkscape is a free vector tool as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator with a very good handling.

3D Visualization & Video

  • Blender is an alternative to 3D visualization tools like 3DSmax or Maya. Like all programs in this league it is not easy to use. But it offers professional possibilities, e.g. video editing.
     
  • Animaker is an online animation video software. Creating videos with a maximum length of two minutes is free of charge. These can be uploaded to YouTube.
     
  • Renderforest is a cloud-based video maker for creating e.g. intro videos for YouTube, explanatory animations or infographics. The creation of videos with a maximum length of three minutes is free of charge.

Audio editor

  • Audacity is a free audio editor with tracks and effects.