Articles | Volume 21, issue 2
Research article
15 Feb 2017
Research article |  | 15 Feb 2017

Monitoring surface water quality using social media in the context of citizen science

Hang Zheng, Yang Hong, Di Long, and Hua Jing

Abstract. Surface water quality monitoring (SWQM) provides essential information for water environmental protection. However, SWQM is costly and limited in terms of equipment and sites. The global popularity of social media and intelligent mobile devices with GPS and photography functions allows citizens to monitor surface water quality. This study aims to propose a method for SWQM using social media platforms. Specifically, a WeChat-based application platform is built to collect water quality reports from volunteers, which have been proven valuable for water quality monitoring. The methods for data screening and volunteer recruitment are discussed based on the collected reports. The proposed methods provide a framework for collecting water quality data from citizens and offer a primary foundation for big data analysis in future research.

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Short summary
Do you feel angry if the river in your living place is polluted by industries? Do you want to do something to save your environment? Just log in to and use the Tsinghua Environment Monitoring Platform (TEMP) to photograph the water pollution actives and make your report. This study established a social media platform to monitor and report surface water quality. The effectiveness of the platform was demonstrated by the 324 water quality reports across 30 provinces in China.