Ongoing Research Into Software Development for Climate Change
Climate change is a growing threat, adaptation and risk mitigation are needed. But, there are many obstacles to taking effective action to educate, adapt, prepare, respond, and recover. In 2019 we decided to see how software can help address these.
What prevents individuals from effectively preparing for Climate Change?
We set out to investigate if there is a need for a solution that gives citizens personalized help preparing for and recovering from climate change impacts and lets trusted authorities assist them and report on their results.
We first wanted to identify the top communication problems that might prevent citizens from taking effective action on climate change risks.
We did this by conducting primary and secondary research, using a mixed-methods design to integrate quantitative and qualitative data.
First we randomly surveyed Canadian citizens using an online poll, to better understand their level of awareness of climate change action and readiness to act if assisted by a software tool. Then, we validated our theory about the communication gap problem by conducted interviews with 114 Canadians across all provinces and territories via Zoom. The interviewees included officials from the three level of government, faith-based organizations, business people, NGOs, and ordinary citizens.
Our Initial Findings
Our greatest overall finding was the willingness of citizens to take responsibility and use climate change impact platform to help themselves, their neighbors and community plan for, mitigate and recover from climate change disasters. We also confirmed that software solutions can be built.
The scale of the problem was too huge for us to explore further...without help
Our initial research efforts showed us how vast the technical and non-technical hurdles might be. In order to better identify and understand these, we needed a way to research and explore, at scale.
So, we decided to enlist students and academic institutions in the project. We connected with them through Riipen, an experiential learning projects platform that links students and employers. By creating topic-based mini research projects, we have been successful in tapping into the enthusiasm, knowledge, and innovative ideas of students around the world (over 140 students in 25 academic institutions, and growing).
To ensure these activities would eventually lead to practical results, we began to develop an overall software prototype platform we originally called the Climate Change Impact Platform or CCIP (this technology and prototype is now part of the OASIS program). This provides an overall framework within which we and our collaborators can explore various concepts and ideas, At first ideas are examined at a high level, sometimes they evolve to building mockups and prototypes, and in the most advanced cases we have created working tools and web applications.
Student Research Projects
|CC0||Climate Change Problem-Solution Respondents||2019-11-01||2020-07-01||Our greatest finding was the willingness of citizens to take some level of personal responsibility and use climate change impact platform to help themselves, their neighbors and community plan for, mitigate and recover from climate change disasters. We would like to thank Canadian citizens, NGOs, academics and scientists, businesses, faith-based leaders, and officials at all levels of government, for taking the time to interview with us and respond to our survey questions.||View Project|
|CC1||Initial Branding Goals, Strategy, and Guidelines for CCIP||2019-07-11||2019-10-18||The students worked in class to help us establish Initial branding goals, strategy, and guidelines for a new Climate Change Impact software product we are developing. While they had relatively little time to research a complex and niche branding opportunity for a climate change impact planning and prediction product, what they produced exceeded our expectations. We would like to thank Muruga Pradap Devaraj, Anand Sreekumar, and the other students and teaching staff of the Sales & Marketing Connections & Insights course, ACCES Employment with Humber College.||View Project|
|CC2||Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) recommendations for building a new Web Application||2019-07-08||2019-12-05||The Capella students helped us determine the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment processes and tools we should use to support the development & deployment of a new web application. They helped to research and explore, recommend, and finally implement a basic CI/CD pipeline prototype. We would like to thank Delvin Dowell, Cameron Schumacher, Teever Brannon, and the other students and teaching staff of IT 4990 Capstone course, Capella University.||View Project|
|CC3||Recommend features and content for a Climate Change Impact Planning software product||2019-09-12||2019-09-12||The DeGroote students researched and recommended features and content for a Climate Change Impact Planning software product prototype. They provided clear and logical insight about modern user trends (especially for the younger demographic) that substantially altered our initial design direction. Based on early discoveries by them, we altered the project focus to include a study on gamification and mobile app approaches to improve user experience. We want to thank Ignatius Ashali, Sarah Liou, and the other students and teaching staff of the COMMERCE 4SG3 – Corporations & Society course, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University.||View Project|
|CC4||Customer Personas and High-Level Requirements for a new Climate Change Impact Software Product||2019-09-14||2019-09-14||The Utah Valley University students researched and analyzed user personas and their key requirements for a Climate Change Impact Planning software product prototype. They generated, ran, and then analyzed detailed psychographic surveys to qualitatively identify the types of users that would be interested in this product, and their key desired features. Their findings reveal some deep insights into required branding and positioning and will substantially improve our design direction and product development. We would like to thank Cody De Niro, Jonathan Young, Russell Elder, S M Colemere, Josey Dewsnup, and the other students and teaching staff of MGMT 6940 – MBA Capstone Consultancy Project course, Utah Valley University.||View Project|
|CC5||Prototype Zoom Virtual Meeting Feature for a Climate Change Impact Software Product||2019-10-13||2019-10-13||The Tarleton State University students built a prototype web site and researched the Zoom virtual meeting platform to assist with a new climate change impact software product we are designing. Through their efforts we have learned about technical possibilities and requirements of using Zoom to organize and host virtual meetings in channels, and thereby improve our prototype’s user experience. We would like to thank Prabin Bastakoti, Tyra Buchanan, Cheyenne Holland , and the other students and teaching staff of COSC 4451 – Distributed Applications course, Tarleton State University.||View Project|
|CC6||Design Training Program to help Riipen students who are contributing to our Climate Change Impact Planning software product||2019-10-14||2019-10-14||The Saskatchewan Polytechnic students developed a training/onboarding course and supporting material to help us provide a consistent and optimum experiential learning experience to our student collaborators on Riipen. This work included a checklist for onboarding students to a project, FAQs, and post-project feedback survey to improve the future learning experience and understanding of the project goals and requirements. We would like to thank Sammatha Hegyi, Hannah Putland, Christian Kainz, Lindsey Parsons, Bemigho Paula Nene, Matthew Rusteika, Allison Katerynych, Manu John, James Baumann , and the other students and teaching staff of HR232 – Training and Development course, Saskatchewan Polytechnic.||View Project|
|CC7||Extract guidance and actions from Climate Change documents using Machine Learning||2019-09-01||2019-12-15||The University of Toronto students investigated whether (and how) machine learning techniques could be used to extract meaningful climate change actions from existing content. While the project work was intended to be an exploration/feasibility study, the results are very polished and extremely promising. We would like to thank Rahim Jiwa, Linda Peto, and the other students and teaching staff of SCS-3253 – Machine Learning course, University of Toronto.||View Project|
|CC8||Design and build a new WordPress self-hosted website for a Climate Change product||2020- 01-01||2020-06-04||The DePaul students helped us by producing a WordPress site using BeaverBuilder theme and associated plugins. They validated their progress and design work by holding weekly development scrums with us. The students were always pleasant, attentive, and helpful during our meetings. Their work included the production of project material including meeting agendas, and WordPress technical documentation and migration configurations and scripts. We would like to thank the students and teaching staff of IT394-IT395 – Software Projects for Community Clients course, at DePaul University.||View Project|
|CC10||Canadian Market Opportunity and Business Model Analysis , at or a Climate Change Impact Content Portal||2019-09-16||2019-09-16||Research student investigated the market opportunity for a Climate Change Impact Planning software product in Canada. We are extremely satisfied with the result. He provided clear, exhaustively researched and logical insight that gave us the conclusions we needed to justify continued investment in the business case. His work was based on not only substantial secondary research but also the creation, delivery, and analysis of a survey. We would like to thank Justin Mosbey and the teaching staff of MMIE 808 – Industry & Market Research & Analysis course, Smith School of Business at Queen's University.||View Project|
|CC11||Business Case for Identifying and Predicting Climate Impacts using satellite Earth Observation images, big data sets, and machine learning||2019-08-03||2019-10-19||Help research and document a business opportunity for a new climate change impact software product.The analysis will be used as justification to commit further corporate resources and focus and serve as backgrounder for investments and fundraising. The report consists of various topics about different types of risks that may occur within a business. There is a brief description of Short Term, Long-Term Risk Analysis Matrix and Market Specific based risk. We would like to thank the students and teaching staff of BUSM4370 – Accounting Business Design 2 course, RMIT University.||View Project|
|CC12||Gamification Study and Recommendations for Climate Change Impact Software||2020-01-13||2020-03-22||The Capella students were tasked with producing a gamification model and techniques that will be used in a climate change software portal and mobile app. The gamification feature needs to encourage citizens to perform certain tasks (both as individuals and within a community). While the project work was intended to be an early prototype, the team produced results of exceptional quality. We would like to thank Jordan Marsters, Mark Cain, Melissa Freeman, Kametra Harrison, Jason Music, Jason Finamore , and the other students and teaching staff of IT4990 – Capstone Winter course, Capella University.||View Project|
|CC13||Gamification Business Case for Climate Change Impact Software||2020-01-16||2020-04-20||The University of Toronto students were tasked with evaluating a business case for a gamification feature that could be used in a climate change software portal and mobile app. The team assisted us by researching and preparing the business case for the gamification feature, investigating the feasibility, customer segments, and implementation and administration costs. We would like to thank the students and teaching staff of RSM 466 – Environmental and Social Responsibility for Managers course, at University of Toronto.||View Project|
|CC14||Prototype search application to index climate-change and environmental websites using structured metadata, and display the results||2020-01-18||2020-05-02||The ASU students were tasked with developing a prototype search engine to extract from the Web Data Commons a list of relevant websites, articles, events, and organizations, and display those in a search index where we can view, search, and export it. While the project work was complex and only intended to be an early prototype, the team produced results of professional quality and complexity, leveraging Amazon Web Services infrastructure to create a scalable and performant big data indexing solution. We would like to thank Pradeep AJ, Yuvan Pradeep, Ankita Shivanand Bhandari, Harika Kolli, Narendra Mohan M, and the other students and teaching staff of Master’s Software Engineering Capstone course, Arizona State University.||View Project|
|CC16||Branding work for online Climate Change Impact portal||2020-01-27||2020-01-27||We are in the design and planning phase of a new climate change impact planning software solution (related to “UN Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”). We asked NYIT Brandstanders students to assist with the initial branding strategy, design & guidelines, and then (time allowing) produce key graphics and messages for our prototype. Our experience with the Brandstanders professor and students was excellent. We would like to thank Ilan Mouna, and the other students and teaching staff of ADVG 420 – Brandstanders: Experiential learning/Capstone course, at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).||View Project|
|CC17||Design and build a new Android mobile app for a climate change application||2020-03-10||2020-03-10||Create a prototype android mobile app for users of a climate change software product we are building. We need a mobile application that allows ordinary citizens to view actions they can take, track their progress, complete tasks, and upload proof (pictures and videos). They can also chat and request help from trusted authorities. We would like to thank the students and teaching staff of CSCI409 – Introduction to Mobile Application Development course, McNeese State University.||View Project|
|CC18||Marketing Campaign Plan to enlist Local Citizens/NGOs/Municipal Governments in Canada for a Climate Change Impact software prototype||2020- 05-04||2020-07-26||We asked the McMaster students to figure out how we could engage citizens and NGOs to evaluate a prototype climate change application we are planning. They performed detailed market campaign research, analysis, and planning for an experiential marketing event centered around an environmental cleanup, in partnership with an NGO. They established the marketing objectives and plan before, during, and after the event. The helped us establish a budget, and determined the desired communication approach to NGOs and participants. They worked backward from the expected event date to indicate clearly what steps needed to be taken and when. We would like to thank Elizabeth H., Simran D., and Emma S., as well as the teaching staff of MKT 101 – Marketing Plans and Implementation course, McMaster University Continuing Education.||View Project|
|CC19||Extract Guidance and Actions from Climate Change Documents Using Machine Learning||2020-05-26||2020-05-26||We are in the design and planning phase of a new climate change impact planning software product that will recommend a set of actions that ordinary citizens can take to avoid, mitigate, adapt, or rebuild from climate change disasters. Although there is a wealth of guidance information out there in PDFs or on websites, rather than go through those one by one, we want machine learning NLP and NLU techniques (and others?) to be applied that can automatically extract that kind of guidance from a PDF document or body of text. We want to thank Aakar Mathur, Kalpita Dapkekar, and the other interns and teaching staff of VI – Master’s Students: Data Science – Analysis, Business Intelligence, and Machine Learning course, University at Albany, SUNY.||View Project|
|CC20||Recommend a “trust and collaboration framework” for a climate change application||2021-01-05||2021-04-12||One of the key obstacles to individuals taking personal action to prepare for climate change impacts and disasters is that they may lack trust in the guidance they are given by authorities. Even the concept of “trusted authorities” is challenging because trust is obviously very subjective. In order to build a useful software solution that could encourage individuals to take action, we asked the Ontario Tech University students to help advance our understanding of this critical obstacle and its various facets. We would like to thank Fega Ofovwe and the other students as well as Professor Stephen Marsh in the course INFR4611U Trust Systems, Ontario Tech University.||View Project|
|CC21||The Ontario Tech University students researched and analysed practical applications that provided solution-based approach to solve the way in which community scientists can send observations to trusted authorities and receive information from them. Design Thinking methodology was used to understand the user perspective, with human-centred point of view. We want to thank students and their professors in the course Sales & Marketing Connection & Insights, Ontario Tech University.||2021-05-07||2021-06-18||The Ontario Tech University students researched and analysed practical applications that provided solution-based approach to solve the way in which community scientists can send observations to trusted authorities and receive information from them. Design Thinking methodology was used to understand the user perspective, with human-centred point of view. We want to thank students and their professors in the course Sales & Marketing Connection & Insights, Ontario Tech University.||View Project|
|CC22||Citizen Science observations for flooding - Creating prototype wireframe design||2021-07-02||2021-08-17||Sankara Narayanan helped create low-fidelity wireframes for the Citizen science feature where citizens could submit photos and other “ground truth” observations to the Trusted Authorities, during /after floods -> trusted authority review -> trusted authority feedback loop in its entirety. We want to thank Sankara Narayanan Saravanan, and the teaching staff of BUSI 4996U, Ontario Tech University.||View Project|
|CC23||AWS SageMaker + Climate Change Data Registry||2021-09-20||2022-04-29||Sankara Narayanan helped create low-fidelity wireframes for the Citizen science feature where citizens could submit photos and other “ground truth” observations to the Trusted Authorities, during /after floods -> trusted authority review -> trusted authority feedback loop in its entirety. We would like to thank Hunter Borkowski, Meg Schultz, John Jamison, and the other students of the Software engineering capstone project, at Arizona State University.||View Project|
|CC26||Design a web/video tutorial to help Citizen Scientists use our web prototype||2022-02-15||2022-04-11||The Concordia University students built a web video tutorial to help citizen scientists use our web application to safely take and upload observations during or after a flood. The video tutorials will go a long way in improving our prototype’s user experience. We want to thank the students and Professor Julie Corrigan of the ETEC 681 course, at Concordia University.||View Project|
|CC33||Recommend feature & design changes to our prototype to help with forest fires||2022-02-04||2022-04-20||The Ohio students were tasked with exploring and documenting functionality modifications needed to extend our citizen science prototype focused on floods, to help during a wildfire disaster. While the project work had few resources provided, the students produced results of exceptional quality. We want to thank the students and teaching staff of the MIS 4800: Business IT Analysis and Consulting course, Ohio University.||View Project|
|CC34||Citizen science badge/gamification incentives||2022-03-03||2022-04-28||The Lakehead student were tasked with researching gamification concepts and systems and then proposing a gamification system to suit our application (ex points or badges for safely making and sharing observations or photos during or after a flood disaster). We want to thank the student and teaching staff of ED 5712: Climate Change Education, Lakehead University.||View Project|
|CC36||Define the training requirements for citizen scientist web app users||2022-02-15||2022-04-18||The Concordia University student created a training requirement and supporting material to help us provide guidance to citizen scientists (users) on safely taking and submitting flood disaster observations using our citizen science web application. We want to thank the students and Professor Julie Corrigan of ETEC 681: Designing online training/learning experiences course, Concordia University.||View Project|
|CC38||Recommend feature & design changes to our prototype to help with forest fires||2022-03-10||2022-04-22||The SAIT Applied UX Design / Product Management students applied creative thinking and design thinking methodology in exploring the functionality modifications needed to extend our citizen science prototype focused on floods, to help during a wildfire disaster. They continuously suggested new ideas to the project which produced results of exceptional quality. We want to thank Michelle Bowers, Curtis Fairhurst, Erin Kronstedt, Tyler Skrabek, and teaching staff Loui Garcia, Jenny Tang, and Renee Matsalla of SAIT Applied UX Design / Product Management course, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.||View Project|