The Citizen Science project was initiated by Agroscope Switzerland and the University of Zurich, together with Catta Gmbh (science communication), to draw a comprehensive, interactive map of soil quality in Switzerland and beyond its borders. Using a simple yet effective method, Citizen Scientists can find out what their soil's health is like by burying and digging up cotton underpants. The degree of decay of the cotton-underpants provides information about the area's vibrancy, from arable land to permanent green spaces, forests, vegetable- and flower-beds, to urban gardens. 'Slip of Evidence' invites every citizen to participate and research, whether farmers, hobby gardeners, self-supporters or flower lovers.
The extended project field investigates how soil ecosystems function using an extensive questionnaire and the resulting data. What role do bacteria and fungi or other growth-promoting microorganisms play? Which crops enable symbioses? Which fertilisers are harmful, and which are sustainable for the soil?
App design as an answer to complex research questions
To find out, the researchers in the 'Slip of Evidence' App ask participants about the type, management, and cultivation of the area, to obtain a research base together with the submitted underpants and soil samples. At this interface between complex questions and end-users, the app design acts as a central function. Finally, it allows the user to easily enter data via smartphone through its intuitive structure and concise visualisation.
The main categories 'Describe location', 'Dig in underpants', or 'Dig out underpants' guide the user through the 'Add-Spot-Dialogue' to their first observation in the App. With the Spot-Update-Feature, the user can add his observations to the described location - to guarantee high data quality.
To make the project attractive for citizens inside and outside of Switzerland, the custom Citizen Science App was realised multilingual in German, Italian and French.In addition, we are also responsible for the website of this Citizen Science Project, which is currently under construction. There will be information and a user forum on the project homepage, where the participants can exchange information about the project, the Citizen Science App, and the soil's exploration.
For "Slip of Evidence", we developed a new feature that allows users to log in directly to the project website with the same login as in the Citizen Science App. As always on the SPOTTERON platform, this feature will also be available to other projects in the future without further development costs.