Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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Celebrate Citizen Science Month!

(Filter by Age Group in Project Finder)
Citizen Science Month April 2020
SciStarter Event Finder
What is Citizen Science?   |   SciStarter Home School

Natural Inquirer Citizen Science Edition

(PDF or Order for Paper Copy)
US Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey

Open Innovation Resources Related to COVID-19 

COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts

USA Citizen Science Association COVID-19

European Citizen Science Association COVID-19

Australian Citizen Science Association COVID-19

NASA @ WORK (Politico Article)

FEMA PrepTalk Released
"Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science as
Force Multipliers for Emergency Management

Featured on, Available on FEMA PrepTalk, and  YouTube Video 
Discussion Materials includes COVID-19 Open Innovation Resources.

Dr. Sophia B Liu shares her journey in studying the use of social media in disasters since 2005 with Professor Leysia Palen, researching the use of citizen science to inform earthquakes and coastal hazard models at U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and helping to initiate the FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit at the National Response Coordination Center with Chris Vaughan and Emily Martuscello. In the past 15 years, the use of social media and interactive maps has evolved to become effective communication channels in disasters, emergency managers and hazard scientists are integrating data from the public to provide actionable intelligence during emergency response, and digital volunteers are becoming vital in curating data across the internet and untraditional channels during disasters to inform situational awareness. Also, check out the Crisis, Culture, and Curation - Ignite Talk at the International Conference on Crisis Mapping.

PrepTalks are sponsored by FEMA, International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Naval Postgraduate School, and National Homeland Security Consortium. Other FEMA PrepTalks that might be of interest are:

The Next Pandemic: Lessons from History - John M. Barry

Let the Community Lead: Rethinking Command and Control Systems - Aaron Titus 

Our Changing World: The Challenge for Emergency Managers - David Kaufman

Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing

5th Annual City Nature Challenge 2020
April 24 - 27, 2020


5th Annual City Nature Challenge encourages participants to safely document wildlife however they can—even from their own home—to ensure public health and foster a much-needed connection with nature and each other. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition. We want to embrace the collaborative aspect of the CNC this year and the healing power of nature to allow people to document their local biodiversity in whatever way they can.

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Lila Higgins) and California Academy of Sciences (Alison Young). The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

NASA Calls on Gamers and Citizen Scientists to
Help Map World’s Corals

A user playing the new NeMO-Net game that helps NASA classify the world's coral from their own home

NASA invites video gamers and citizen scientists to embark on virtual ocean research expeditions to help map coral reefs around the world in an effort to better understand these threatened ecosystems. During the past several years, researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley have developed new instruments that can look below the ocean surface in more detail than ever before. Using techniques originally developed to look at stars, these "fluid-lensing" cameras use complex calculations to undo the optical distortions created by the water over coral reefs. NASA has deployed these instruments – mounted on drones or aircraft – to collect 3D images of the ocean floor, including corals, algae and seagrass. However, the data alone do not tell the whole story of what's happening to the corals beneath the waves, which is why NASA needs your help. NASA NeMO-Net is a video game in which players identify and classify corals using these 3D images while virtually traveling the ocean on their own research vessel, the Nautilus.

US Census Bureau - The Opportunity Project

Venn Diagram of Government, Tech, and Communities

The Opportunity Project (TOP) is a process for engaging government, communities, and the technology industry to create digital tools that address our greatest challenges as a nation. This process helps to empower people with technology, make government data more accessible and user-friendly, and facilitate cross-sector collaboration to build new digital solutions with open data. Also, see TOP Toolkit and the 2019 TOP Annual Report. Currently, they are collecting Problem Statements from Federal Agencies for their TOP 2020 Earth Sprint and COVID-19 Sprint. The 12-14 Week  TOP Sprint includes user research, data exploration, product development, user testing, and launch by bringing together government, technologists, and communities to create digital tools that help strengthen American economic opportunity.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Open Opportunities

"COVID-19 Response Program"

Website screenshot

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response community is for federal agencies to post details and temporary assignments so current federal employees, with applicable skills, have the opportunity to assist with the federal response to COVID-19.

Guidance Related to Federal HR Flexibilities

Prize and Challenge Competitions

NIH Technology Accelerator Challenge

TAC Logo

Prize: $100,000,000

Timeline: March 2, 2020 - June 2, 2020

Non-invasive Diagnostic Technologies for Global Health

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the National Institutes of Health supports and encourages the development of new diagnostic technologies important for global health. Through this Challenge, NIBIB will offer $1,000,000 in prizes to reward and spur the development of platform concepts and prototypes of non-invasive, multiplexed diagnostic technologies for sickle cell disease, malaria, and anemia, diseases with high global and public health impact. 

NASA Tournament Lab:
Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload

Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload

Prize: $160,000

Timeline: April 8, 2020 - July 10, 2020

Give a tiny bot a new set of tools to explore the moon.
Share your ideas for a mini payload to make lunar exploration more effective

NIH National Cancer Institute: 
Metadata Automation DREAM Challenge

Prize: $60,000

Timeline: January 14, 2020 - May 22, 2020

Participants: Developers, data scientists, data curators and all professionals from the data science community to develop a solution to automate metadata annotation.

Goal: Using structured biomedical data files, challenge participants will develop tools to automate annotation of data fields and values, using available research data annotations as well as established terminologies and ontologies, Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, Mondo Disease Ontology, International Classification of Diseases.

Motivation: We aim to significantly lower the burden of adding these annotations across the data ecosystem to streamline and enable both retrospective harmonization as well as data query, discovery and interpretation. This Challenge addresses this time-consuming task with automated metadata annotation of structured data.

Challenge: Implement a Tool to Automatically Annotate Data Fields from APOLLO & TCIA Cancer Datasets. Annotate the meaning of fields representing clinical cancer patient data using metadata repositories, controlled terminologies or ontologies, and previously curated datasets. Annotating data in tables (headers, row values) according to their semantics. Doing so via automated tools that can operate on input data sources.

Upcoming FedCCS Meeting

Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community

FedCCS April 2020 Meeting
"Crowdsourcing All Things Geo" 

Thursday, April 30 at 2:30 - 4:30 PM Eastern

The FedCCS April 2020 Meeting will be hosted in collaboration with the USGS Open Innovation Community. This month's topic is "Crowdsourcing All Things Geo" with a panel of six speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National-Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Department of State (DOS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Each speaker will give a 10 minute talk about federal crowdsourcing projects involving volunteered geographic information (VGI), collaborative mapping, open source geospatial tools, and crowdsourcing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support. See below for the webinar and call-in information, agenda, and descriptions on each talk and speaker or attached PDF to view images and hyperlinks not visible in calendar event description.

Elizabeth McCartney (USGS) - National Digital Trails and GaiaGPS:
Considerations When Proposing to Partner with a Private Company

Chris Clasen (NGA / GMU) - NaviGator: A Geographic Game With a Purpose

Erika Nunez (DOS) - MapGive: Humanitarian Mapping as Public Diplomacy

Will Mortenson (NGA) - NGA Open Mapping Enclave (NOME)

Katie Picchione (FEMA) - FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit

Scott Kaplan (CAP) - Civil Air Patrol (CAP) GIS Program

JOIN FedCCS Listserv by sending an email for meeting updates:

(Federal Government Only)

Recent Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forums

Check Out "Ignite Open Innovation Forums" Stream Channel for Video Recordings (Only Available to USGS and DOI Bureaus)

Celebrate Citizen Science Month, Earth Day, and
Take Your Kids to Work Day!

Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:00 - 12:00 PM ET

April is Citizen Science Month!
April 22 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!
April 23 is 
Take Your Kids to Work Day!

Take Your Kids Teleworking with Citizen Science to
Understand Our Earth

Disruption to daily education is affecting nearly 1.5 billion learners around the world and nearly 30 million students in the US, as more teachers and teleworking parents are having to shift to doing educational activities at home. Citizen Science allows people of all ages to contribute to science virtually anywhere, making them fun social and educational activities that contribute to science while maintaining safe "physical" distancing. You and your kids can help advance scientific knowledge by asking questions, reporting observations, conducting experiments, collecting data, or developing low-cost technologies and open-source code online, on a mobile phone, at home, in your backyard, or outdoors! In this Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum, Eleanour Snow, Erin Posthumus, Sally Cook, and Sophia B Liu will share citizen science projects and other educational resources that have been developed by the USGS, other federal agencies, and other organizations.

All Hands on Deck:
COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts and
The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint (Video)

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

Sophia B Liu (USGS Open Innovation Lead) will provide an overview of the various open innovation efforts inside and outside of government that have emerged in response to COVID-19. She will also discuss The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint and proposed Problem Statements.

Citizen scientists are playing the Foldit game designing protein structures to fight against coronavirus. GISCorps digital volunteers are crowdsourcing information online to develop the COVID-19 Testing Sites Locator Map in coordination with the FEMA Crowdsourcing Unit. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Call to Action to the Tech Community on New Machine Readable COVID-19 Dataset led to a series of Artificial Intelligence Challenges on Kaggle for developing text and data mining tools for the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge (CORD-19). USAID has also launched the COVID-19 Innovation Hub to aggregate and highlight innovations responding to COVID-19. More examples can be found on the COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts wiki page. How can USGS and the Community for Data Integration (CDI) community learn from these open innovation efforts in terms of how we integrate and communicate data, how we understand and communicate risk, and how we contribute and use open innovation efforts that can inform the decisions we all are having to make in our professional and personal lives right now in this global crisis?

The US Census Bureau sponsors The Opportunity Project (TOP) to engage government, communities, academia, and the technology industry to facilitate cross-sector collaboration in the development of new digital solutions with open data that help strengthen American economic opportunity.

Tackling the Paperwork Reduction Act in the Age of Social Media and Web-based Interactive Technology
TBD Date

overlapping screenshots of the desktop view and mobile view of the new Guide to the PRA

Background on the Paperwork Reduction Act

A Guide to the Paperwork Reduction Act - Digital.Gov Resources

Department of Interior (DOI) Generic Information Collection Request (ICR) for Crowdsourcing for Citizen Science

Request for potential projects that want to use DOI Generic ICR

Request for feedback on draft 60 Day Notice

Federal Open Innovation Meetings

Federal Community of Practices

Directory of Federal Tools, Services, and Teams University Events and Training

Federal Crowdsourcing Webinar Series


Federal Crowdsourcing Webinar Series, Episode 9:
A Match Made in History

Monday, April 27, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET

In popular shows, on-screen sleuths have a knack for connecting everyday people to answers: finding long-lost siblings, tracing ancestral roots, or unearthing evidence that supports a life’s work. In real life, historical research often takes a DIY approach that requires time, patience and attention to detail—and when you need help, sometimes you need to phone a credible friend.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) answers that call with the History Hub. The platform connects agencies, researchers, and a bevy of citizen archivists within its online community to help the public through its research journeys. History Hub bridges this gap, connecting researchers with experts. Experienced researchers and members of the community can chime in too, sharing the wealth of their knowledge with novice users.

The YouTube Video will be available on the Federal Crowdsourcing Webinar - Episode 9: A Match Made in History webpage.

Federal Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community

FedCCS April 2020 Meeting - "Crowdsourcing All Things Geo" 

Thursday, April 30 at 2:30 - 4:30 PM EDT

FedCCS Community Meetings are every last Thursday of the month at 2:30 - 4:30 PM ET.

If you are a Federal employee, JOIN the FedCCS Listserv by sending an email to:

For more information on FedCCS resources, visit:

Federal Challenge and Prize Community
"Weekly Open Innovation Huddle"
Every Wednesday at 12:00 - 12:45 PM EDT

Informal Weekly Virtual Huddle with the Community to discuss various prize and challenge activities and efforts related to COVID-19. Contact to receive meeting invitations.

Join Federal Challenge & Prize Community Listserv
(Federal Government Only)

Federal Social Media Community
"SocialGov Virtual Spring Session"
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 12:30 - 2:30 PM EDT

Join SocialGov, the federal government’s social media community of practice, for our virtual Spring Session! In this session you will hear from the digital experts at Census, General Services Administration, the Department of Interior, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of State about how to help Census 2020, a social media crisis communication case study, social media strategy, and researching digital resources.

  • 12:30 - 1:00 pm ET “Social Media and Crisis Communications: Case Study”
    Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (Asha Beh)

  • 1:00 to 1:15 “Update on Census 2020 Social Media”
    US Census Bureau (James M. Roberts)

  • 1:15 to 1:30 “How to Get 100+ Social Media Accounts on Message”
    General Services Administration (Gabrielle Perret)

  • 1:30 to 2:15 “Using humor and beauty to connect with your audience and build community”
    Department of Interior, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service
    (Danielle Brigida, Matthew Turner, and Holly Richards.

Check out the US Public Participation Playbook

Join Social Media Community Listserv
Federal Government Only)

Recent Relevant Meetings

MapGive -  Mapping for Diplomacy:
Mapping for Global Health

The U.S. Department of State's MapGive initiative, with support from the National Museum of American Diplomacy, invites you to join an educational, participatory virtual mapathon in support of global public health response, on April 28th from 10am-12pm EDT. Crowdsourced mapping projects are helping global health efforts around the world. Participants will hear from State policymakers, public health experts, humanitarian organizers, GIS professionals, and others in the open mapping community who are currently responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and will contribute to the creation of updated map data to assist with public health efforts.

MapGive is a U.S. State Department public diplomacy initiative that encourages and increases volunteer participation in the global mapping community and facilitates the creation of open geographic data to support humanitarian relief and development programs. Please see and follow @MapGive for more information, or contact

Map Trainings and Other Videos on MapGive YouTube Channel

Citizen Science Association (CSA) Webinars

Ask Me Anything" - Data Quality Resource Compendium
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

A well-known barrier to achieving the science and policy oriented goals of citizen science is the (real or perceived) quality of data generated by our efforts. The Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Project team of the CSA Metadata Working Group has compiled a compendium of guidance documents, manuals, and workbooks produced for citizen science that is now live on CSA’s website. The resulting spreadsheet is a treasure-trove of resources for monitoring program coordinators, project leads, and volunteer trainers. Each entry provides a link to the resource, information about the authors and intended audience, and which aspects of the data management cycle are addressed. 

All Hands on Deck:
Responding to Covid-19 with Open Data, Open Science, and Open Innovation

Friday, April 3, 2020

Speaker BiosYouTube Video, and Webinar Notes

Jeanne Holm, Ph.D., is Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor and Deputy Chief Information Officer, City of Los Angeles. 

Dorothy Jones-Davis, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Nation of Makers.

Jeremy Auerbach, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University.

Sophia B. Liu, Ph.D., is an Innovation Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at the Science and Decisions Center and the Co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS).

All Hands on Deck:
Citizen Science and Serious Games Tackle Covid-19

Friday, April 24, 2020 at 11:00 - 12:15 PM EDT

EteRNARhiju Das, Ph.D. Eterna couples a 250,000-player video game to the lab’s massively parallel experimental tools and deep learning, the first such platform in citizen science.

Protein-folding Citizen Scientists Tackle Covid-19 with FolditFiras Khatib, Ph.D., Foldit is a video game that has allowed hundreds of thousands of players to contribute to biochemical scientific research.

Covid Near You - Kara Seawalk COVID Near You invites the public to report current symptoms in real time, identified only by ZIP code.

COVID.SI: Citizen Science Project to Fight Against NCOV-SARS-2 by Distributed Computing - Dr Črtomir Podlipnik With the help of a small program, you will download a subset of compounds on your computer, examine the compounds in the context of the studied target and send the results to a server where they are collected for later analysis.

Safecast and Responding to Covid-19 through Crowdsourced DataAngela Eaton leads Safecast’s air quality and radiation monitoring efforts and supports participatory environmental monitoring throughout the Americas. 

Ask Me Anything" - Data Quality Resource Compendium
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

A well-known barrier to achieving the science and policy oriented goals of citizen science is the (real or perceived) quality of data generated by our efforts. The Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Project team of the CSA Metadata Working Group has compiled a compendium of guidance documents, manuals, and workbooks produced for citizen science that is now live on CSA’s website. The resulting spreadsheet is a treasure-trove of resources for monitoring program coordinators, project leads, and volunteer trainers. Each entry provides a link to the resource, information about the authors and intended audience, and which aspects of the data management cycle are addressed.

Book Discussion
Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

Join Dr. Rebecca Johnson and author Mary Ellen Hannibal for a discussion on the art, the science, the soul, and the data of citizen science, based on Mary Ellen's book Citizen Scientist:  Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.  Rebecca will interview Mary Ellen and then open up the conversation through moderated chat on ZOOM.  (Rebecca Johnson co-directs citizen science at the California Academy of Sciences.) Here is a Reader Guide with reflection questions for each chapter. Please consider purchasing a copy of the book using through CSA's Amazon account. Be sure to set your supporting organization to "Citizen Science Association Inc." below the search bar - CSA will receive a percentage of each sale. 

More Prize and Challenge Competitions

NIST: First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge

Increase UAS flight time and capabilities in support of first responders

Join us for this exciting drone (aka unmanned aircraft system or UAS) prize competition using your ingenuity and hardware build expertise to create a concept for a drone prototype. The result of the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division is hosting a 4-stage challenge, with prize awards up to $552,000 for the top designs. Contestant Portal on the challenge website at

NIST PSCR established the Innovation Accelerator to spearhead the research that supports the development and deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). PSCR’s Open Innovation team engages public safety entities, government, academia, and industry to identify innovation opportunities and foster technology advancements for public safety communications through prize competitions and challenges.

EPA: See a Bloom, Give it Room –
Harmful Algal Bloom Video Challenge

Make a video teaching people how to spot and be safe around harmful algal blooms. Be creative, have fun, and be part of the solution.

Winning Video

A harmful algal bloom is an overgrowth of algae in a water body that can affect water quality and aquatic life. Some blooms can produce toxins that may also harm people, animals, and the local environment.

We need high school students' help! Create a video, no more than two minutes in length, that teaches people how to spot harmful algal blooms and how to be safe around them. Videos should promote public awareness of harmful algal blooms to people who use the waters, such as swimmers, boaters, fishers, or people who bring pets or livestock to the waters.

NIST: CHARioT Challenge

Build augmented reality interfaces for first responders or  develop smart city data streams to simulate disaster scenarios.

AR Contest prize pool of up to $888,000
IoT Contest prize pool of up to $212,000

Win cash awards to develop prototypes, travel to key events, and expand your network in the public safety community.

The goal of the CHARIoT Challenge is to demonstrate how providing first responders access to relevant data streams from IoT devices, smart buildings and smart cities – presented through augmented reality interfaces – could improve communication for public safety personnel while they save lives and property.

NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge

Space Apps

On May 30-31, 2020, tackle COVID-19 using NASA data in this global, virtual hackathon! Registration and other details coming soon. Now in its 9th year, Space Apps is an international hackathon for coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and others in cities around the world, where teams engage with the NASA’s free and open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. Space Apps 2019 included over 29,000 participants at 225 events in 71 countries. Space Apps is a NASA-led initiative organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub and SecondMuse.

Space Apps 2020 will still be coming to you on October 2-4, 2020. You can apply to host a local event by clicking the link above. In the meantime, please join the special edition Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge. Registration and details coming soon.

Department of Defense (DOD):
xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge

Department of Defense - U.S. Army logo

Develop a low-cost, readily manufacturable emergency ventilator to quickly augment ventilator capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Army is conducting a change of mission to focus on combating the COVID-19 pandemic. With this new mission, the Army will protect the force, posture the force to maintain global operational readiness, and support the national effort to fight against COVID-19. The Army continually assesses how we will best protect Soldiers, Civilians and their families, maintain force readiness to meet global challenges, and provide support to the FEMA-lead national COVID-19 response.

The Army Acquisition Executive is launching the xTech: COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge to all innovators across the nation. The Army solicits the innovation community’s ideas for combatting this unprecedented modern pandemic. The prize competition will evaluate technology proposals immediately upon submission and award novel solutions with a prize of $5,000 to present a virtual pitch of the technology concept to the xTech COVID-19 panel, and award prizes of $100,000 to solutions accepted by the panel to develop a concept prototype.