Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Crowdsourcing LUCAS: Citizens Generating Reference Land Cover and Land Use Data with a Mobile App

Version 1 : Received: 22 September 2020 / Approved: 24 September 2020 / Online: 24 September 2020 (08:26:29 CEST)

How to cite: Laso Bayas, J.C.; See, L.; Bartl, H.; Sturn, T.; Karner, M.; Fraisl, D.; Moorthy, I.; Busch, M.; Van Der Velde, M.; Fritz, S. Crowdsourcing LUCAS: Citizens Generating Reference Land Cover and Land Use Data with a Mobile App. Preprints 2020, 2020090574 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0574.v1). Laso Bayas, J.C.; See, L.; Bartl, H.; Sturn, T.; Karner, M.; Fraisl, D.; Moorthy, I.; Busch, M.; Van Der Velde, M.; Fritz, S. Crowdsourcing LUCAS: Citizens Generating Reference Land Cover and Land Use Data with a Mobile App. Preprints 2020, 2020090574 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0574.v1).

Abstract

There are many new land use and land cover (LULC) products emerging yet there is still a lack of in-situ data for training, validation, and change detection purposes. The LUCAS (Land Use Cover Area frame Sample) survey is one of the few authoritative in-situ field campaigns, which takes place every three years in European Union member countries. More recently, a study has considered whether citizen science and crowdsourcing could complement LUCAS survey data, e.g., through the FotoQuest Austria mobile app and crowdsourcing campaign. Although the data obtained from the campaign were promising when compared with authoritative LUCAS survey data, there were classes that were not well classified by the citizens, and the photographs submitted through the app were not always of sufficient quality. For this reason, in the latest FotoQuest Go Europe 2018 campaign, several improvements were made to the app to facilitate interaction with the citizens contributing and to improve their accuracy in LULC identification. In addition to extending the locations from Austria to Europe, a change detection component (comparing land cover in 2018 to the 2015 LUCAS photographs) was added, as well as an improved LC decision tree and a near real-time quality assurance system to provide feedback on the distance to the target location, the LULC classes chosen and the quality of the photographs. Another modification was the implementation of a monetary incentive scheme in which users received between 1 to 3 Euros for each successfully completed quest of sufficient quality. The purpose of this paper is to present these new features and to compare the results obtained by the citizens with authoritative LUCAS data from 2018 in terms of LULC and change in LC. We also compared the results between the FotoQuest campaigns in 2015 and 2018 and found a significant improvement in 2018, i.e., a much higher match of LC between FotoQuest Go Europe and LUCAS. Finally, we present the results from a user survey to discuss challenges encountered during the campaign and what further improvements could be made in the future, including better in-app navigation and offline maps, making FotoQuest a model for enabling the collection of large amounts of land cover data at a low cost.

Subject Areas

land cover; land use; citizen science; mobile apps; in-situ data collection; LUCAS

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