COVID effects and GLOBE(-al) data

Help with COVID knowledge or environmental outcomes.

Each week Cosmos takes a look at projects and news about Citizen Science in Australia. This week we’re going global with two projects: the very contemporary CoronaReport initiative, and the venerable (well, quarter-century-year old) GLOBE program.

CoronaReport AU

CoronaReport asks members of the public to build up a picture of how measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 are affecting their lives, including impacts on short- and long-term health and wellbeing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the viral pandemic affecting communities worldwide. The pandemic’s impacts are varied and substantial. CoronaReport is a citizen science project which democratizes the reporting on the Coronavirus, and makes these reports accessible to other citizens. You can create public reports about your experiences, including how the virus is affecting your area and the way your community functions (e.g., schools, nursing homes, and businesses). Your entries can always be updated like a diary with new information by using the + Icon in the detail view.

Unlike traditional survey approaches that ask people to report on the issues in a strictly controlled way, the open-ended nature of the CoronaReport platform provides a more nuanced view of the ways COVID-19 is influencing health and wellbeing. Dare we say: it’s a little cathartic, providing an opportunity to talk about what’s on your mind that’s both interesting and entertaining.

Anyone can participate by using a purpose-built app to share geo-located entries about their current situation, activities, surroundings and emotions. All data is publicly displayed within the CoronaReport app and website, allowing people to see how others are experiencing COVID-19, share strategies for managing this situation, and access data.

To get started and for more information visit the CoronaReport website here.


The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program is an international science and education program that provides students and the public with the opportunity to participate in data collection and science, and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth and the global environment. GLOBE was announced by the US Government on Earth Day in 1994, and was launched worldwide in 1995.

200720 forest
Credit: Claudio Padiar

GLOBE provides opportunities to look at four of the Earth’s spheres: the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and soil/pedosphere; in studies developed by the scientific community and validated by teachers. GLOBE connects students, teachers, scientists, and citizens from different parts of the world to conduct real, hands-on science about their local environment and to put this in a global perspective.

GLOBE is sponsored by NASA and, in Australia, is delivered through a partnership between CSIRO and the Australian Space Agency.

The numbers are impressive. At January 2020, GLOBE participation included

  • 123 countries
  • 37,087 schools
  • 39,633 teachers
  • 180,308 GLOBE observers
  • 185,285,567 measurements

Each Earth sphere has an online introductory module and a short multiple-choice assessment. Completion of the introductory module and one or more of your chosen training protocols qualifies you as a trained GLOBE teacher.

Go to the GLOBE Observer program here.

Ian Connellan

Ian Connellan

Ian Connellan is editor-in-chief of the Royal Institution of Australia.

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