Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2015 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Integrating geospatial and cognitive modeling tools to improve collaborative citizen science and decision making.
Jordan, Rebecca
Co-Authors: Amanda Sorensen and Shannon LaDeau

Abstract: Although model-based reasoning is often at the center of scientific investigation and environmental decision-making, the process of constructing and empirically validating scientific models is not often made explicit to citizen scientists. This lack of transparency and participation has many negative implications. To address these issues, we explored cognitive mapping software (, embedded within a citizen science portal (, based on that allows scientists, environmental managers and citizen scientists to collaboratively develop semi- quantitative conceptual models of environmental problems to help structure citizen science projects. We then explored a “proof-of-concept” integrating a free web-mapping geoportal ( to allow a complementary means to reach the ends of improved science, communication, and decision-making. We created a group workspace in Data Basin for “Take Back the Block,” which is part of the Baltimore Mosquito project supported through the National Science Foundation (NSF). We compiled relevant spatial layers and made shared maps to evaluate if that process led to hypothesis generation, decision- making, and new inquiries.