Become a “citizen scientist” and protect the environment with your smartphone

In the H2020 project MAGIC, scientists from different fields are working on mapping marginal land areas for the cultivation of industrial plants

Land use change is a global challenge. Every day, around 2.5 million m2 of land in Europe are being built upon. While houses, businesses, roads and recreational areas are necessary for society, these developments can create a negative cost for the environment such as increased risk of flooding and loss of food security. It is hard for a scientist to obtain valid and detailed data about how landscapes are evolving. The International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) based in Laxenburg, Austria, has developed a smartphone App called “FotoQuest Go” in order to collect evidence of how quickly our landscapes are changing.

With your help, “FotoQuest Go” can track the effect of these changes in our landscape and help to conserve Europe’s nature for future generations. Therefore, IIASA have placed 340. 000 points across Europe, so that you, as a “citizen scientist”, can visit these points and doc-ument how the nature has changed. These points are the same locations measured by the LUCAS survey, generated by EuroStats every three years.

With ‘’FotoQuest Go’’ you don’t have to be scientist, all you need is a mobile phone with a camera. Once you have downloaded the “FotoQuest Go” app, use the map to find a point near to you and follow the instructions to complete a quest. To complete a quest, you need to take photos of the landscape and answer a few short questions. With “FotoQuest Go” you become a “citizen scientist”, documenting the environmental changes and helping research-ers around the world to measure and evaluate environmental changes. The app is particularly recommended for children and young people keen on the outdoors, as it is designed in a gamified fashion. Furthermore, you can earn cash prizes of up to three euros for each point you visit until the end of September.

In the European Union’s H2020 project MAGIC, scientists from different fields are working on an up-to-date database to map, analyse and categorise marginal land areas for the cultivation of industrial plants. “FotoQuest Go” will serve as a valid data source to create the most up to date information of what is actually growing in the fields. So, for gaining more insight into current land management practices across Europe, we need you!

EU research project and app download:


MAGIC project, 2018-08-24.


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA


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