Young Crowd

Young people investigate the safety and disaster preparedness of their environment with the help of an app.

Pilot project within the initiative Responsible Science

youth, safety, disaster

The project overview

Area of Science: Social Sciences
Location: independent of location
Used Devices: with PC/Mobile
Equipment of citizen scientists: Smartphone or computer with internet access
Activities of citizen scientists: sharing ideas, observing, measuring, photographing, mapping, analysing
Suitable for: Youngsters
Project duration: 01.12.2016 - 30.11.2017
Time to join in: 19.04.2017 - 30.09.2017
Expenditure of time: Online registration: about 15 min; performing tasks: about 15 min up to 1 hour, depending on the task, tasks can be done during daily routines; answering questionnaires: about 15 min

Project objective

In case of disaster and crisis, communication with community members is particularly important. In this context, mobile phone apps provide new possibilities for volunteers' management in case of emergency, but also in enlisting and activating helpers or gathering information.

The aim of the project “Young Crowd” is to test such an app for its usability. Citizen scientists explore the safety of their environment and disaster preparedness with the help of the app and learn more about the existing resources for disaster and crisis management in their surrounding. The collected data is then used to plan further experiments and do general research about crisis preparedness. By using the app and recording their experiences, citizen scientists contribute to its further development.

Implementation of Responsible Science criteria

Inclusivity of research approach
Citizen scientists contribute to achieve the project's objectives by collecting data for research in disaster and crisis management. While taking part they become more aware of these relevant topics. Furthermore, citizen scientists use the developed app and test it. Their contribution becomes the most important part of the project.

Openness of research process
On the project's blog citizen scientists can read about the progress and the results, which are published online together with the participants' contributions. Through data collection citizen scientists are directly involved in the research process. The gathered data is not only used by the Red Cross, but is also provided to citizen scientists, who are participating together with their teachers.

Adaptivity of project management
Citizen scientists will be accompanied throughout the research process by a team of experts in the field of disaster and crisis management, evaluation and software engineering. This allows them to gather collaborative experience and to include their feedback and findings into the progressing project work.

Anticipation of requirements and effects
Not only is awareness of disaster and risk management raised among youngsters, but citizen scientists also test the mobile app for its usability in emergency cases. They contribute to the implementation of a nationwide crowd-tasking system, which via app invokes volunteers to help in case of emergency. The project contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3d. It aims at strengthening the national measures taken by the government of Austria in the areas of disaster preparedness, early warning and risk reduction while considering national and global health risks.

How to participate?

Teachers and their students but also young people (14+) are invited to participate in this project. Citizen scientists perfom small tasks posed by their teachers or the Red Cross via app. Depending on the tasks, participants answer questions, take photos or tag places on maps. The collected data is then analysed by the citizen scientists themselves. Based on the outcomes they develop further research questions and generate new tasks in the app.

What happens to the contributions of citizen scientists?

The collected data is analysed by experts and contributes to establish a nationwide overview of disaster preparedness from the perspective of citizen scientists, focusing on their schools and their environment. Furthermore, the data is used for the examination of stability and usability of the tested mobile app. Citizen scientists contribute to the installation of a nationwide crowd-tasking system, which activates volunteers in case of emergency by mobile phone app.

Participating and supporting institutions


Juliane Spreitzer BSc

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