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Created Mar 25, 2019
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Environmental research app introduction

Concept

A web application which helps interconnect environmental events and track updates on a given subject in a specific region. The platform unites a wide audience of researchers by building connections between topics they study. The public part of the platform gives everyone the ability to discover and follow topics of interest.

Researchers:

  • employees of research centers and universities,
  • companies operating in the field,
  • faculty and students of relevant institutions.

How to use

If you are a researcher:

  • Trace links between study subjects.
  • Collaborate with colleagues from other fields.
  • Draw attention to your research.
  • Get and analyze data for personal projects.

If you are an organization or activist:

  • Discover people who work on the same subject.
  • Participate in discussions and connect with researchers.
  • Find a new audience for your activity.

If you are curious:

  • Understand complex topics.
  • Follow environmental changes in your region.
  • Get updates from researches, not news.
  • Discover local leaders and inventors.

How it works

Node

A node is a single unit of a network. A node describes an ongoing or completed event in a particular region resulting in environmental changes.

Node properties:

  • Name
  • Period. Start and end date if event is completed
  • Short description. < 140 characters
  • Summary. Full description with imagery
  • Contributors. The list is automatically generated
  • Research:
    • Papers (URLs, files)
    • Datasets
    • Other files
  • Known solutions. Source URLs, files, company profiles
  • Press. Source URLs, files
  • Connections with other nodes. Automatically generated

All events are geolocated in order to avoid global events (e.g. "Global Warming"). Similar events in different regions can have different consequences and solutions (e.g. "Air Pollution in Los Angeles, USA" and "Air Pollution in Delhi, India").

Connections between nodes

Cause-effect

Links between events, or nodes, are created using a casual relationship forming a directed graph. Each node can be represented in two states:

  • As cause
  • As effect
[ cause-n, cause-1 ] → selected node → [ effect-1, effect-n ] 
                       ^ acts as effect and cause

Besides manual linking of nodes, the platform suggests new connections by analyzing existing nodes.

In addition to the fact that events affect each other directly or indirectly, you can set an influence property value to the link itself. This gives more accuracy when analyzing the network.

Search results may be filtered by problematics and region.

Visualization

The platform provides different modes of visualization for different use purposes.

  • Globe. A 3D-map allows you to discover events while exploring the surface of the Earth.
  • Network. Helps to visualize the chain of events to conduct new connections and find parallels in events.
  • Table. Table view with columns for searching and comparing by attributes.

User tools

Observer:

  • Discover subjects of interest.
  • Subscribe for updates on nodes.
  • Subscribe for updates on a region or problematics.

Activist:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Contribute changes to existing nodes.
  • Participate in discussions.

Researcher:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Create and connect nodes.
  • Export network segments.

Content regulation

Levels of access

The platform provides different levels of access to content editing.

  • L1. Faculty, students, and employees of companies that have confirmed scientific or research background. They can create nodes and links.
  • L2. Employees of organizations engaged in public campaigns, art. They can start discussions.
  • L3. Observers without experience in science or research. They can search and subscribe for updates.

Registration process

To get access to L1, the user needs to register with his working email of a collaborating organization (i.e. name@institute.edu). To get access to L2, the user needs to submit a registration form that will be approved by current members or moderators.

Node requirements

In order to create a node, it needs to meet the following requirements:

  • The researcher needs to work in the field where the node belongs to.
  • The event does not describe a global event and can be geolocated.
  • The event must have documented evidence, such as official research papers, agency reports, datasets, etc.

Global or vague events should be divided into several smaller nodes.

Connection reviews

The link can be discussed and reviewed by other experts to which connected nodes belong. Links include a status system:

  • Set, not reviewed
  • Set, approved by n experts
  • On review
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