We are studying how we can ‘read’ test strips for chlorine, pH, alkalinity and hardness using machine learning to help improve the accuracy of citizen monitoring. We’re looking to test our algorithm with your photos. We need volunteers from across Ontario to help us!
For the second phase of this research, we’re looking for volunteers to test 8 times over 4 weeks in two locations. We’re also trying to understand how testing the water can change out relationship with it. To be eligible, you need be in Ontario and record your observations on a smartphone.
Registration is currently open and you can sign up by filling in the form below and we’ll mail your testkit and email you with more information.
How it will work:
- Fill out our pre-survey and give us your contact details
- We’ll send you our study’s Tinykit, which contains a guide, sample sheets, reference card, test strips and thermometer.
- Choose 2 locations, preferably on different waterbodies (they can be close to one another, we just hope they have different chemistries!) you can visit easily once per week for 4 weeks.
- Sample weekly, on the same day, at the same time. Collect water temperature, air temperature data with your thermometer. Record test strip results and take a photo using your reference card.
- Submit your observations using our app.
- Once your 4 weeks are complete, we will send you our post- study survey.
Choosing your sample locations
For this study, it is more important that the tests are taken consistently than that they are significant for long-term monitoring. This means to choose sites you can easily access and return to for the next tests.
However, if you’d like to learn more about how to select a sample location for longer term monitoring (if you plan to continue testing into next year, for example), you can get more information here.
How to start adding observations
How will the test strips be interpreted?
Last year, we used volunteers’ photos to train our artificial intelligence algorithm. This year, we’re launching it as a new feature in our app and we need you to help us find bugs and test how accurate it is. So, for this study, you will be using your own vision to interpret colours. The app will then interpret your photo and give you ‘correct’ readings.
What about the QR Code (that black/white square) at the top of the card?
This is so the app can detect where the test strip is in relation to the QR code.
Do I have to use the app?
Yes you do! If you don’t have data where you’re testing, you can fill in the form and later when the app has access to internet, it’ll upload your information.
How do you decide who can participate?
We allow anyone who fills out the application form to participate, so long as they live in Ontario, up to a maximum of 200 participants for this phase of the study.
How long does it take to test and record data?
Most people take between 5-10 minutes per week.