Besides the visual component of a Citizen Science observation, in some projects, recording audio is as important. From bird songs to amphibian calls, from city noise to dialects - sound recordings offer a distinct form of data in natural science projects, in linguistic citizen science, or even in capturing reports about environmental quality.
Citizen Science Apps on the SPOTTERON platform can now utilize this form of data. Together with projects on the platform, we have built an elaborate audio recording feature that is available for all apps. Developed with flexibility in mind, the new audio component consists of 3 parts:
Participants in a Citizen Science App have the option to add live recordings to an observation with just a long press of a button. When holding the record button, the audio from the smartphone is recorded and stored alongside the observation data point. The audio is also visually represented as a waveform.
Depending on the project's goals, users can add more than one recording to one submission. When releasing the record button, a new interface element appears, allowing for an additional recording.
Additionally, it is possible to add audio files manually to an observation by briefly pressing the button. Pressing the button displays the phone's selection menu and an audio file can be added.
Recording and submitting audio in a Citizen Science App is not everything - a quality app also needs to offer streaming playback. In a Spot with one or more audio recordings present, a playback interface allows listening to the audio attached. This can be important to enable the participants to help with data quality via the SPOTTERON community validation toolbox or to provide feedback to the original poster about the correctness of, e.g., species classification.
Playback can be paused and continued with a press of the button. Uploaded audio is also represented visually with a wave form in the interface. The playback interface is also present later on after the Spot upload in the detail view of an entry.
When observations are stored, they are instantly available for the project's researchers and administrators in the SPOTTERON Data Administration Interface. The new audio recording feature is integrated into the project's Data Administration Interface and makes the audio available for instant playback. In the data export of the project, the audio file is available as a URL for direct integration into external tools or for bulk download.
The new audio recording feature for Citizen Science Apps is available within the SPOTTERON Project Ecosystem. As one of the platform's core principles, all newly launched features are available for all projects without any extra development costs. This collaborative concept makes it possible for a single Citizen Science project to utilize modern functionalities and tools in their Apps right from the start.
Is your project interested in recording audio in your Citizen Science App?