EarthTrek is a citizen science program that links scientists undertaking real scientific research with the broader community through their active participation in the collection of real scientific data. EarthTrek projects will focus on environmental issues in which community involvement is the key to understanding the real nature of the issue at a local, regional or even global scale.
Scientists involved in EarthTrek can increase the amount of data collected on their local, regional or global projects as well as dramatically raise the profile of their research in the broader community. Scientists also have the opportunity to mentor young people in career paths which lead to being involved in their scientific field.
Participants involved in EarthTrek contribute to scientific research by collecting data following scientific protocols, and then see their contributions reflected in the real outcomes of scientific research. Participants, especially the young, can also discover potential pathways for careers in science. Participant receive rewards for their participation in the form of EarthTrek statistics based on the number and scope of projects in which they participate.
EarthTrek projects involve people collecting data outside using their GPS unit to locate a feature, or to record the coordinates of a data point. The basic EarthTrek data point contains the latitude, longitude, date and time of the data collection point, followed by the data needed to fulfill the project needs.
EarthTrek is really a database portal that links the scientists and the community together. Scientists use the portal as a information tool and data collection mechanism for their projects. They also use the portal as a way on communicate their research results to the people who participated. Participants use the portal as a way to seek projects in which they can become involved, learn about protocols and then collect and record data. They also use the portal as a way to discover more about careers in science.
The data collected through EarthTrek will become open access once a project is complete and the scientist �embargo� time is met. This allows other scientists and students to use the data for their own research projects.
EarthTrek is being developed by the Geological Society of America in partnership with organization around the globe.
: Gary Lewis, ()Organization website