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Using citizen science to expand the global map of landslides: Introducing the Cooperative Open Online Landslide Repository (COOLR)

Robust inventories are vital for improving assessment of and response to deadly and costly landslide hazards. However, collecting landslide events in inventories is difficult at the global scale due to inconsistencies in or the absence of landslide reporting. Citizen science is a valuable opportunity for addressing some of these challenges.

The new Cooperative Open Online Landslide Repository (COOLR) supplements data in a NASA-developed Global Landslide Catalog (GLC) with citizen science reports to build a more robust, publicly available global inventory. This manuscript introduces the COOLR project and its methods, evaluates the initial citizen science results from the first 13 months, and discusses future improvements to increase the global engagement with the project.

The COOLR project (https://landslides.nasa.gov) contains Landslide Reporter, the first global citizen science project for landslides, and Landslide Viewer, a portal to visualize data from COOLR and other satellite and model products. From March 2018 to April 2019, 49 citizen scientists contributed 162 new landslide events to COOLR.

These events spanned 37 countries in five continents. The initial results demonstrated that both expert and novice participants are contributing via Landslide Reporter. Citizen scientists are filling in data gaps through news sources in 11 different languages, in-person observations, and new landslide events occurring hundreds and thousands of kilometers away from any existing GLC data.

The data is of sufficient accuracy to use in NASA susceptibility and hazard models. COOLR continues to expand as an open platform of landslide inventories with new data from citizen scientists, NASA scientists, and other landslide groups.

Future work on the COOLR project will seek to increase participation and functionality of the platform as well as move towards collective post-disaster mapping. 

More on:

Juang CS, Stanley TA, Kirschbaum DB (2019) Using citizen science to expand the global map of landslides: Introducing the Cooperative Open Online Landslide Repository (COOLR). PLoS ONE 14(7): e0218657. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218657


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