Citizen scientist Harold Smith has now contributed over 10,000 annotations to Ocean Networks Canada's video database using the Digital Fishers crowdsourcing tool.
Harold is our current all-time leader, and his annotations are helping scientists tackle questions such as:
- What environmental factors influence the distribution of species in the deep?
- What is the biodiversity associated with deep-sea environments?
- How do species interact with each other and with their environment?
We developed Digital Fishers together with the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies (CfGS) with CANARIE funding. Co-investigator Dr. Rod Dobell leads the involvement of CfGS with additional support from eBriefings.ca.
Recently we asked Harold why he’s so involved and what he thinks about DigitalFishers.
1. Tell us about your educational and professional background.
I have a Master’s of Science degree in Business & Management (Troy State Univ), and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Univ. of Maryland) also in Business & Management . I am retired military (United States Air Force/21 years) and retired US Federal Government (a U.S. Dept. of Defense Agency/19 years).
2. In a few words, can you tell us what your particular interests are?
I have always had an interest in Oceanographic research but prior to this endeavor I’ve never been in a position to contribute anything to the field. I use the Internet extensively for investment research and for keeping tabs on new developments in science in general. I also have an avid interest in Archaeology.
3. Have you participated in something like this before?
No. But having discovered this project it also led me to several other crowd sourcing projects and I now participate in several projects of this type where I feel I can contribute something (via the scistarter and zooniverse websites).
4. In a few words, can you tell us why you are interested in being a Digital Fisher?
I like to think that I can make a contribution, albeit a small one, by participating in this project and I have the time and resources to do so.
5. What are your favorite aspects of Digital Fishers?
Trying to identify what I’m seeing. This is also the most frustrating aspect. Researching and finally identifying something I’ve never seen before does carry its own reward.
6. Do you enjoy the game function - cards, levels, leader board?
Not particularly. I think it might come across a bit more professionally if the “game” aspect were to be downplayed and the scientific research aspect were to be emphasized a bit more. I think that others involved in crowd-sourcing type programs might see the word “game” and dismiss the project out of hand without further investigation.
7. What is the most interesting/fascinating thing you have seen so far in Digital Fishers?
An unidentified worm (polychaete) which the camera happened to catch during its descent one day. It took me forever to figure out that it was a worm it was so spectacular.
Many thanks to Harold and the hundreds of other Digital Fishers who are contributing to the science on which better public policy can be built. If you have any comments on your experience as a Digital Fisher or questions about the project, please email us.