Mount Diablo State Park and surrounding Contra Costa County, CA
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Hackers Use Social Media to Track Ecological Changes After Wildfire

Nerds for Nature, a group of environmental and technology professionals in San Francisco, is crowd-sourcing images from Mount Diablo State Park visitors to track ecological changes after the 2013 Morgan Fire.

Sign posts set up around Mount Diablo ask visitors to take photos, post them to social media, and tag them with a hashtag indicating their location.

Morgan Fire Sign

Sergei Krupenin (@krupenin) May 18, 2014


The Morgan Fire started on September 8, 2013. It burned for almost a week and consumed more than 3,000 acres. The photos collected show fire damage but also the life that flourishes as a result of the fire. Plants species that normally perish under the competition of less hardy and larger species have began to cover the scorched land. To see the photos of Mount Diablo State Park after the fire visit or search for the #morganfire hashtags.

Wonder what the park looked like before the fire? The title photo above is of the park and the surrounding Contra Costa County before the wildfire.

This great civic—I mean, ecologic—hacking project makes me wonder what else we can crowd-source/hack/be technologically awesome with to monitor our environment, educate the public, and make lasting ecological change.

I’ve heard people pitch community garden apps, farmers markets finders, and other green ideas at civic hacking events, but the above tweet was the first time I seen a hacking project use the power of social and people to create data points to monitor the environment.

How would you use the power of people and connectivity to impact the environment?

Maybe you would:

  • Use people, photos, and social media to track drought’s affects on local water levels and animal life
  • Build an app where people can take picture of underused land and submit them to local officials as suggestions to be made into green spaces
  • Collect stories of homeowners near fracking sites
  • Build an app that locates nearest recycling facilities or drop off points

What environmental monitoring, education, or change would you like to see if you had the power of people and technology? I’d love to know! Drop your ideas in the comments below.

1 Comment so far

  1. Pingback: Hackers Use Social Media to Track Ecological Changes After Wildfire | Gaia Gazette

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