Public Lab Research note

This is an attempt to replicate an activity.

Hurricane Harvey Impact Image Sort

by zengirl2 | October 20, 2017 03:59 20 Oct 03:59 | #15073 | #15073

I wanted to duplicate the Harvey Image Sorting that was done at the New Orleans event. Here was my process:

  1. Opened the spreadsheet for Harvey Cartography Collective Project Management to view how others entered data, as well as to look at example photos stored in Cartoscope links at bottom of page.
  2. Reviewed the pics of oil spill and plume from the link under the column "Sheen"
  3. Opened the Harvey Imagery Map, and unchecked the maps using the right hand icon that have already been completed. As an example I worked on Sept 1st, Flight 2, so I kept that map up and unchecked others that have not been worked on.
  4. Scanned slowly, starting at the top and zig-zagging from left to right, then right to left in rows until reaching the bottom of the map chunk. I would stay zoomed out so I could detect obvious bodies of water or industrial plants. Then I would zoom in for closer inspection.
  5. Entered suspicious sheen and flood areas onto the spreadsheet, including the link for the specific section of the map I was on. I also included specific coordinates for latitude and longitude that appear on the bottom left corner when you click on the exact location of concern (the link for the map only contains the wider parameters).
  6. Added notes at the end to better describe what I saw such as swirls of sheen or suspected algae blooms


  1. Panning takes some practice when working with these maps. I found it was helpful to return to the same magnification after zooming in. Otherwise it could get confusing where you left off. A steady hand helps :)
  2. My particular map was at the end of the storm, so there was minimal flooding, but sheen was still present. In some cases I was unsure if I was seeing sheen or merely sunlight reflecting off of rippled water. I still marked it as I assumed an expert would take another pass at the data.
  3. Some areas of sheen are probably due to normal oil since I was viewing oil refineries and other treatment sites.
  4. Some areas appeared extra muddy, perhaps because there was erosion from sites or there was overflow from the river.
  5. The extra step that still needs to be done is to cross-reference my sheen sites with already known industrial/hazardous sites as they are most critical.
  6. This is a great activity if you love detail oriented tasks!
  7. I'm excited to see this process morph with the universities working with Public Lab as well as Zooniverse because tiles are easier to work with for volunteers, although they are harder to create for setting up a project for citizen science.


algae blooms? woah. thanks!

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