The UWI St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago. – Residents and visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines can now contribute to scientific research while learning about the impact of natural hazards in their communities, all from the palm of their hands.
The ‘myHAZ-VCT’ citizen science app, a collaboration of The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the British Geological Survey (BGS), was officially launched earlier Friday 28th January 2022 at NEMO headquarters.
myHAZ-VCT is a citizen science platform for sharing observations of natural hazards and environmental phenomena in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is designed to provide scientists (UWI-SRC), emergency managers (NEMO) and citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with first-hand information about a range of natural hazards and environmental phenomena that occur in the country. Since scientists and emergency managers cannot be everywhere, enlisting members of the public in sharing observations can provide a broader understanding of the impact on the community. This information can be used by NEMO to respond more effectively to impacted communities as well as to develop robust hazard mitigation systems.
At the official launch, the Director of NEMO, Ms. Michelle Forbes noted NEMO’s effort in leading the citizen science approach in the country and region especially around the volcano and geological hazards. “Working with the BGS and SRC on this was not just for an app we control but a way for citizens and community members to share info and have reviewed and verified information to better inform on hazards impacting the community.”
UWI-SRC Geologist, Professor Richard Robertson in his pre-recorded remarks emphasized the multi-hazard utility of the app and provided a short overview stating, “From 2017-2022, from concept to launch the app has been seen as a useful tool and required continuous community and stakeholder engagement and constant development.”
Dr Katy Mee, myHAZ Project Lead on behalf of the project team at BGS shared the following, “Becoming a citizen scientist means that you can be the eyes and ears of your community and help NEMO and UWI-SRC to gather observations of natural hazards and other environmental phenomena. We hope citizens enjoy using the app and look forward to seeing your observations and hearing your feedback so that we can continue to make improvements to myHAZ-VCT.
We have very much enjoyed collaborating with UWI-SRC and NEMO on the development of the myHAZ-VCT app over the past five years and we’re thrilled to see the app being formally launched today. We extend our thanks to all of those involved in today’s launch and look forward to further collaboration in future.”
The media launch included a live demo of the app by Research Assistant (UWI-SRC), Mr Omari Graham, and a question-and-answer session. Promotion of the app continues via radio giveaways, social media posts and engagement online. myHAZ-VCT is available for download for Android and iOS devices on Google Play and The App Store.