How Pokemon is Inspiring Citizen Science

first_img Hydrologists have been piggybacking off the renewed popularity of Pokemon in the wake of the success of its mobile app (you all know the one I mean), to help learn more about how vast quantities of water move around in the United States.At issue, bizarrely, are tiny streams, the type you would step over without much thought if you were hiking across the countryside. These smaller bodies are important to understanding where water is and how it moves.“It is really unimpressive-looking in person,” Tamlin Pavelsky, a hydrologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill told NPR. “But if you think about the number of these streams there are across the country; it’s staggering.”There are, perhaps millions of such streams that run across the country. And looking at them gives us the best understanding and forecasting when we look at the water supply.“I started out looking at big rivers,” he adds. “But if I wanted to try to answer a lot of the questions that I had about big rivers I realized that I had to go back and look at the small streams to be able to answer them… For many processes, they actually dwarf something like the Mississippi in terms of their importance.”So where does Pokemon fit into this? Well, with the success of Pokemon Go there were suddenly millions of people walking around idling searching for Pocket Monsters to add to their collections. So hydrologists got clever, and partnered with NASA to help create a project that would help collect data for them. The project, part of the larger citizen science app CitSci, is called Stream Tracker. And it’s exactly what it says. Anyone who is able can help scientists track using GPS and other data, where streams are and whether they are flowing or dry or still frozen. All of this can be compiled together to create functional models for understanding what the US water supply is doing at any given point.So far, the team only has 80 volunteers, mostly in Colorado, Utah, Ohio, and Arizona, but they’re always accepting more folks to help gather data. Mint-Condition Set of Pokemon Cards Sold For $107KNew Trailer ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’ Reveals Team Yell Punks Stay on targetcenter_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more