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 .

Creation of Citizen Science Projects

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. is a platform of the Colorado State University. It allows anyone interested to create online projects. Data analysis and comparison can be carried out too.

Citizen Science Project Builder is an open, free and easy tool of the Citizen Science Center Zurich to create a data analysis project.

Pybossa is a freely accessible platform for the creation of online projects in which volunteers can take part. To use it PyBossa must be installed; a step-by-step guide helps you to create your own project.

Wildlife Sightings is a platform for the creation of projects in the field of wild animal watching. Programming knowledge is not necessary.

Also Zooniverse offers the possibility of creating your own Citizen Science project and presenting it as official Zooniverse project on the platform.

Smartphone App Creation

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 smartphone app (Android and iPhone) with which you can document localised and topic-specific sightings. The collected data is edited for evaluation and/or addressing and represented on maps.

Naturlocator is a company which supports projects in the development of smartphone apps for the collection of environmental data against a fee.

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. There is a helpful forum with a community of almost 5 million programmers.

Apps for Recording Sensor Values

The app AndroSensor supports all sensors in Android devices and is available in different languages.

Science Journal is a graphically very appealing app for Android and iOS with the disadvantage that it only reads a limited number of sensors. You can also add notes, video and photos.


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.

Image editing

GIMP is the free alternative to Photoshop, although with higher operating hurdles and fewer possibilities.

Vector editing

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.