Use Your Phones and Drones to Map the Effects of El Niño

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has launched the Phones & Drones El Nino Monitoring Initiative and is asking citizen scientists to use their phones or drones to capture data about the effects of El Niño.

As part of its Coastal Resilience initiative, TNC is asking the public to submit documentation of: higher than normal water levels, coastal landslides or other big erosional events, and property damage from floods or landslides.  Imagery should be georeferenced and can be shared by tagging it on Flickr with  #elninoca, by emailing the imagery to, or uploading it via the Box upload page. The El Niño project page provides more detail about how to prepare the photos with the GPS information needed for the project.

The imagery collected from both smartphones and drones will be used to create open source maps and GIS data showing inundation areas, erosion events, and property damage.  These maps will be used to assist the coastal planning community ground truth sea level rise flood models.  The maps will also be used to help TNC figure out how nature can mitigate the impact of climate change on the coast.

Drone image of the San Lorenzo River captured by Matt Merrifield.
Drone image of the San Lorenzo River captured by Matt Merrifield, public domain.

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