More context for this question is here: https://publiclab.org/notes/wmacfarl/09-18-2019/oil-and-gas-hardware-fellow-introduction
Briefly: We are thinking about tool and project development for water quality monitoring around oil and gas pollution. In order to develop useful data-collection tools we need to know what kinds of things people want to use data for.
When is DIY/community-produced instrumentation and data useful for advocacy purposes? Perhaps as a first-pass tool to provoke investigation with more expensive, "official" instruments? Does this happen? Does it work?
What about personal decision-making -- "can I drink my tapwater?", " should I install an air-filter?" -- on the one hand, DIY sensing seems well-suited to answering personal questions because you are your own audience so you don't have to worry about formatting your data or constructing your experiment to meet the standards of a third-party.
On the other hand, the variability in the quality and calibration of many low-cost sensors makes the data from DIY instrumentation hard to interpret in isolation without an active community of other people using the same tools and techniques.
Does anyone have good examples of these (or other) kinds of uses? What technical or community features make this kind of data more usable?