What does the World Smell Like?

We are excited to introduce to you the International Odour Observatory, one of the main and lasting results of the D-NOSES project that will carry on the work of empowering citizens to tackle odour pollution in their own communities.

What does the world smell like? The Odour Observatory is ready, and we want your participation.

One of the lasting results from the D-NOSES project will be the International Odour Observatory. This is a platform where stakeholders will find resources and help to tackle odour issues using the citizen science based D-NOSES methods. The platform has been initially co-created by the current stakeholders involved in the project and the pilot studies. The intention is for the co-creation process to continue and for this to be a dynamic site where all those involved can provide input on how to improve the methods, the data and the end results. D-NOSES is now launching the Odour Observatory and inviting everyone to take a look and provide as much feedback as possible.

The design of the Odour Observatory was based on use-cases. These were developed from a number of identified personas – expected users of the platform – each with a problem, and goal, which could then be addressed in the design for the observatory. User stories were classified into four groups including Community and Civil Society groups, NGOs and grassroots initiatives, odour emitting industries, and finally researchers and academics. If while using the Odour Observatory you cannot find what you need – it might be because your user story is missing! Help us complete the user stories, and developing the observatory to suit your needs. You can use our user story feedback forms or you can just send us an email and tell us what you think.

In this newsletter, we introduce you the basic functions of the Odour Observatory to collect, validate and present data using citizen science and the D-NOSES methodologies.This covers the use of OdourCollect to get the data, and Community Maps to present it.

Collecting Data - The OdourCollect Application

One of the main objectives of the Odour Observatory is to make as much data available about odour issues worldwide. Following Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, free and transparently available data about the environment is the first step to empower citizens to take responsibility for their own environment.  OdourCollect is the main way for citizens to contribute odour data from their communities, and collecting this data from all over the world will allow us to call attention to the identified problems and put odour issues on the map.

Read more about how easy OdourCollect is to use, and start using it yourself!

Data Assurance and Validation

When using de-centralized collection of data by volunteer citizens, data validation is always an issue. D-NOSES has developed a couple of data assurance strategies that help ensure that the collected data is both valid and useful. These assurance strategies include simplifying collection to avoid errors, training data collectors to reduce subjectivity, statistical methods to increase reliability, and a very sophisticated retro-trajectory methodology to validate the sources of odours. 

Read more about how data is checked and validated for use in the platform

Data to Information - Community Mapping

Once data is collected and validated, the next step is to transform that into information. The difference between data and information in this case is simple – data is a large number of readings that when put together can describe an odour issue in a particular location. Information is actually describing that issue and making it easily accessible to those that can use that information. To do this, Mapping for Change has developed the Community Mapping tool that is being put to good use in the Odour Observatory.

Read more about Community Maps and their role in the Odour Observatory.

Coming soon ...

As you may be aware, the D-NOSES methodology itself is being developed and validated with the help of 10 pilot case studies. Sites at the moment include some in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria– with several more in the pipeline. (read more about the pilots). As the pilots progress, so will the understanding of the proposed stakeholder engagement and participatory methods being proposed by our citizen science experts. This will eventually result in the publication of the Toolkits, which will address the stakeholders and how they each may initiate or participate in co-creation efforts to resolve odour pollution issues. Keep an eye out for them in the Odour Observatory, and follow the progress on the D-NOSES website and social media channels (see below).