ScienceTap is an application for iPhone and Android that serves as a mobile field agent for environmental research. Combining the sensory information from the mobile device, mapping functionality from Google Maps, and a customizable program framework, ScienceTap was created around the concept of making field research easier, more accurate, and more synthesized than ever. All data collected by ScienceTap is stored in a centralized SQL database that can be accessed by team members. Data collection and analysis is controlled by security clearances of users that are structured around teams of users, that are working on specific research projects. For more about data control and security, please read the data section of our documentation.
ScienceTap is a free, open-source software, available for download from the Apple App Store. Aside from the professional researcher, ScienceTap aims to include the average citizen to participate in ongoing field research in their community. ScienceTap was designed with attention to the active community member, to encourage data resulting from a community of users. Users are defined as professionals in the field, or as citizen scientists and each user sees the application a little differently. ScienceTap aims to make data-collection for the professional scientist a very detailed, specific process, one that is centered around a scientific foundation. For the citizen scientists, ScienceTap becomes a very easy-to-use, quick, tool that they can use to contribute less specific and less detailed observations about their surrounds. Both the educated observations of the professional and the casual observances of the citizen can contribute to a whole of understanding that is greater than each individual part.
ScienceTap was developed by two undergraduate students, Juan Huertas and Victoria Styner, at Temple University, with support and funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. Development and Design was guided by Dr. Justin Shi of Temple's Computer Science Department. The Scientific Vision and Purpose was guided by Dr. Laura Toran, who wanted the application to ease her and her students research of the Delaware Watershed. The data overlays on the Map Interface were supported by data from the Academy of Natural Sciences in collaboration with Drexel University. ScienceTap is actively being used by the Geology department of Temple University, by several scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and by a few recreational users.