Public Lab Wiki documentation

Website Basics

This is a revision from June 22, 2022 02:55. View all revisions
3 | 15 | | #15264

This page collects some basic introduction and guidance to using the Public Lab website. There are many ways to use the site, but this page focuses on supporting newcomers.


The Public Lab website is being continuously refined, but its purpose is to:

support a diverse range of people to exchange knowledge about environmental issues that affect people, and collaborate on ways of monitoring them, organizing around them, and supporting one another in these activities.


(Draft diagram from this post)


The website is organized into several areas, including:

Questions and Answers

All questions are collected on, and also displayed by topic across many parts of the site. There are no "bad" questions -- if you don't understand something, or can't find something, please ask!

Newcomers have a unique ability to see things that have been overlooked, so we need your help!


This word means different things to different people, but our Methods page collects many different approaches to monitoring environmental problems, from off-the-shelf commercial tools to in-progress Do-It-Yourself techniques, to community organizing and advocacy tactics.

Each page listed will have a Questions section for related questions, and will list activities you can do related to that topic.

It's not a comprehensive list of topics or methods, so please ask a question if you can think of a method you want to see on the website, or have related resources to share!


Above: a sampling of methods from the Methods page


The Public Lab Blog is a place where we share stories from across our networks and communities -- a place to stay updated as well as to remember the people and communities working every day to drive all of these efforts forward. See our main Blog page to learn more and to submit an article.


Your dashboard is where you can see all the latest activity on Public Lab, for a sense of what's going on across the site in the past week. It features updates and new posts, whether they're activities, events, or questions.



Each person with a Public Lab account has a profile page -- for example, see @hagitkeysar, @zengirl2, or @nedhorning -- which shows:

  • activities and notes they've authored or co-authored
  • questions and answers they've posted
  • comments they've made
  • their optional photo and bio

You can add tags to your own profile page to add information -- more on this coming soon!

Here's an example of a profile page:


Topic pages

Topic pages, or tag pages, collect all the activity around a given topic name, as represented by the "tags" each page is annotated with. See the top right sidebar of this page for an example of tags.

To get to a Topic page, click on the tag. You'll be directed to a page like this one, for the topic "Sampling":

Tag pages collect and display:

  • activities and notes
  • questions
  • contributors
  • other content

Tag pages show the newest content first, so they are a good way to get a "snapshot" view of what's happening on a topic. Learn more about how to use tags to organize information on here: About Tags

If you wish, browse all tags at


If you have questions about the website, please ask here!

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
Spectral Workbench: Can't search (502 Bad Gateway) @dlwilson1a over 2 years ago 4
We are having trouble with our map knitting @jerejack0507 about 3 years ago 3
How can the account be deleted? @tupaschoal about 3 years ago 0
Problem with Photo Monitoring Plugin on Fiji @SamWolfe over 3 years ago 3
Is our error reporting adequate? @icarito almost 4 years ago 7
How do you write and post in the public lab community? Asking for our developers! @emash almost 4 years ago 4
Changing my username @sam_ettenborough about 4 years ago 1
How can I create and work on my own issue in Github? @bsugar about 5 years ago 4
How are the Q&A's tied together in the website database? @bsugar about 5 years ago 3
How can I delete a User Account? @niklasjordan about 5 years ago 3
How do I interpret the relationship between the schema.rb file and the models? @bsugar about 5 years ago 4
Uploaded pictures always stays vertical @aemilius89 over 5 years ago 6
Link to notes tagged not working @asnow almost 6 years ago 1
Moderate questions with machine learning. @Aleksi12358 almost 6 years ago 3
It is impossible to connect to our pad: PLEASE HELP @urijosa about 6 years ago 2
Search function operating strangely? @gretchengehrke about 6 years ago 2
How do we address the issue of people posting the same or very similar questions? @stevie about 6 years ago 5
Social Integration of Public Labs with FB @bansal_sidharth2996 about 6 years ago 3
Error with showing contributors for a tag? @gretchengehrke about 6 years ago 1
How are the questions sorted on the 'Unanswered' tab? @stevie over 6 years ago 1
How can we get hashtags on research notes so they are found on Twitter? @zengirl2 over 6 years ago 2
Is it possible to generate a word cloud based on a tag's related tags? @pdhixenbaugh over 7 years ago 2
Activity Grids formatting - what will be their final form? @pdhixenbaugh over 7 years ago 10
What goes into choosing a topic name? @liz over 7 years ago 2