Mobile apps enjoy a high level of public (or customer) acceptance and frequency of use. The documentation of entertainment, community or disaster events on social networks is taken for granted nowadays. The range of possibilities is, however, under-utilized for scientific environmental monitoring and education.
The PAN app research and development makes use of the tremendous smartphone market share and utilizes the embedded sensors, i.e. photos, short messaging, etc. to combine environmental monitoring tasks with Crowdsourcing to engage and inform people about their local and regional landscapes, their protection and natural change processes.
Environmental changes are very slow processes and are often hard to perceive during a natural park visit. The underlying idea of the crowdsourcing project PAN (greek god of woods, pastures and nature) is to monitor and visualize these changes in long-term Time-Lapse-Videos that are stitched together from single photographs.
Citizens interested in nature, environmental protection or science, plus tourists, hikers, cyclists, school classes and study groups are enabled by the PAN app to navigate the UNESCO Global Geopark TERRA.vita with GPS and an augmented-reality-view to take rephotos from the approximate same location and perspective over a long period of time.
The goal of the innovative PAN project is to provide planners, conservation authorities, scientists and other interested parties with high quality visual data for the evaluation of environmental change processes.
At the same time, citizens are encouraged to use mobile technologies to record environmental patterns and changes over time and become an embedded part in the scientific research, policy making and documentation process.
The research group Environmental Informatics and municipal planning at the Institute of Computer Science, University of Osnabrück has long-time experiences with the concept and the development of information systems and cadastres for various geographical issues.
The focus lies on mobile acquisition of information, its automatic processing and integration over common web interfaces.
The Digital Technology Agency mindQ was founded in 2013 by CEO Björn Fuhrmann and CTO Olaf Gerlach in Osnabrück, Germany.
mindQ develops, designs and builds digital products and services to create value for the clients and engage their users. The mindQ main business fields are developing mobile innovations and digital strategy consulting.
The UNESCO Global Geopark TERRA.vita in the environs of Osnabrück covers about 1500 square kilometers (580 square miles) and extends across the states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Since 2001, TERRA.vita is part of the global Geopark movement and is now a recognized senior partner.
Within this space, the park offers an exciting journey through 300 million years of Earth’s history. The best-known highlights are the Piesberg mountain in Osnabrück, the dinosaur tracks of Barkhausen, the water gap of the Weser river at Porta Westfalica, the Dörenther Cliffs at Ibbenbüren, the giant ammonites in Borgholzhausen, and the shark teeth from Bippen. The park is organized as a registered association, with the county of Osnabrück responsible for its management.