CitizenCAN

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CitizenCAN Header

A citizen science platform concept for the Canadian Space Agency

CitizenCAN is a concept for a citizen science project platform created during the NASA Space Apps hackathon in April 2017. In less than 48 hours, my teammate Tanya and I created this concept to help the Canadian Space Agency decode data from space satellites from the 1960s. 

Alouette

The issue: tons of data on old photographs
The Canadian Space Agency's challenge was to figure out how manage and analyze data from thousands of images captured by the Alouette-I, a Canadian satellite that orbited the earth in 1963. The images were taken off rolls (!) of film that had never been scanned and analyzed before and which contained valuable data on our Earth's ionosphere (an upper layer of our atmosphere - I had to look it up too!)

Thinking laterally to create a non-tech solution 
Tanya and I tackled the challenge laterally: rather than focusing on a technological solution, we decided to find a way that would engage the public in the CSA's work. The idea came out of a conversation with the Canadian Space Agency's representatives, as well as Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen (!!), who told us the CSA is making a big push to increase public interest and engagement—to open up to the public like NASA does. This led us to think of opening up the decoding project to ordinary space enthusiasts, to make it a public activity that would increase engagement with the space agency and spread awareness of Canada's role in space history and space future.

With Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hanson
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Creating a working mockup
We create our first project, "Agent Alouette", in Zooniverse, a popular citizen science website that was already set up to give users the tools they needed. Given the Cold War context of the 1960s, we framed the project as a spy mission with playful retro tones. We uploaded the satellite images with a set of specific instructions on how to read them, and anyone interested could participate and contribute to solving the challenge.

This is when we realized there was more to our solution.

Expanding the scope of our concept
We realized that our citizen science idea could in fact be expanded into an actual Canadian Space Agency platform that would benefit its goal of increasing public engagement.

This is when CitizenCAN was born.

Creating a working mockup
We create our first project, "Agent Alouette", in Zooniverse, a popular citizen science website that was already set up to give users the tools they needed. Given the Cold War context of the 1960s, we framed the project as a spy mission with playful retro tones. We uploaded the satellite images with a set of specific instructions on how to read them, and anyone interested could participate and contribute to solving the challenge.

This is when we realized there was more to our solution.

Expanding the scope of our concept
We realized that our citizen science idea could in fact be expanded into an actual Canadian Space Agency platform that would benefit its goal of increasing public engagement.

This is when CitizenCAN was born.

Agent-Alouette-website-mockup

CitizenCAN is a platform that would host individual citizen science projects. The projects would vary in nature and stay up to date with science discoveries and news and could be tailored to either teach the public about space, to inform them about Canada's role in space history, or to gather actual useful data from ordinary citizens.

I created a clean and bold identity for the project, as well as engaging website page mockups that included illustrations and eye-catching images. We also went beyond the initial scope of the challenge and mocked up a second project.

CitizenCAN Header
Rad Views

Presentation and results
We presented the CitizenCAN concept on the last day of the Space Apps hackathon and were honoured to win the Toronto-level Space Apps challenge and an honourable mention award from the Canadian Space Agency (which includes a visit to the CSA headquarters that we are so excited to take!) 

Tweet CSA

Our end result was a concept full of possibility, where contributors could learn about the science and data that they analyze, and the Canadian Space Agency would benefit by increasing awareness and using crowdsourcing efforts that would save them time, money, and resources.

CREATED FOR
NASA Space Apps Hackathon

SERVICES
Branding, Web Design, Concept Strategy

LINKS
CitizenCAN on NASA Space Apps

Need a website that's....out of this world? 

CONTACT

Barbara Kowalski
hello@barbarakowalski.com
Currently based in Ottawa, ON

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© Barbara Kowalski 2019