ArcGIS Online

Citizen Science Resources

*** Updated May 2021 ***

Data is critical. It drives decisions. It drives science. It drives us forward. To get the robust data sets needed, researchers increasingly look to citizens for contributions.  With the prevalence of tablets and mobile devices, people across the globe can act as observers collecting information for important projects that expand scientific understanding.  This site provides resources to help you get started with creating applications for citizen science projects, analyzing data and communicating results.  Technologies are divided into several usage patterns: citizen engagement and open data, field data collection and quality control, project status; and communicating results.

App for Citizen Engagement and Data Sharing

ArcGIS Hub/Open Datatwo way engagement to connect with citizens.

Featured ArcGIS Hub App – Field Museum Monarch Community Science Project helps researchers understand how successful milkweed plants in cities and towns are at providing habitat for monarch caterpillars.  Data is submitted by volunteers using ArcGIS Survey123.

Apps for Field Data Collection and Quality Control

ArcGIS Survey123 – easily create forms for data collection via web browser or as a native mobile app even when disconnected from the internet.  Get Started with ArcGIS Survey123 free lessons.

Featured ArcGIS Survey123  Arizona Water Watch (AZWW) Mobile App citizen science app to protect Arizona’s waterbodies. Created by Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).  Read more about this app in this article Using GIS to Bring Citizens and Scientists Together by Monica Pratt, ArcUser Editor (ArcUser, Spring 2018) and this Arizona Department of Environmental Quality press release: Innovative App Helps Citizen Scientists Protect Arizona Water Quality.  See how it works!

ArcGIS QuickCapture – native app to quickly record field observations while standing or in a moving vehicle.  Read how King County, Washington supports the control of invasive plants with the ArcGIS QuickCapture app.  Esri Case Study, 2019

Community Science ArcGIS Solution – configure ArcGIS Online web application template that allows members of the public to report sightings of one or more species in a web browser on their tablet, laptop or smart phone.

ArcGIS AppStudio Quick Report – create a citizen engagement native app that allows users to capture an observation and submit it to an online service.

Wildlife Photo Survey – provide a simple to use application for volunteers or the general public to review captured images of wildlife.

Apps to Communicate, Visualize and Share Citizen Science Data:

ArcGIS StoryMaps communicate & visualize results.

Featured Citizen Science ArcGIS StoryMap – Citizen Science in Shifting Sands Sea Grant volunteers in three states track our changing costs by Tim Briggs, New Hampshire Sea Grant, April 27, 2020


Additional Example Citizen Science Projects

Additional ArcGIS StoryMap Examples

Esri and National Audubon Society

Brand new to ArcGIS?

Start here → 

  1. Sign up for Free 21 Day Trial of ArcGIS
  2. Get Started with ArcGIS Online free training course
  3. The ArcGIS Book – 10 big ideas about applying geography to your world

Citizen Science Articles

Citizen Science Presentations and Videos

Additional Citizen Science Community Resources

Citizen Science Resources for Educators

Stay Connected

This post was originally published September 22, 2015 and has been updated.

Next Article

Multi-Scale Contour Styling in ArcGIS Pro

Read this article