Five Citizen Science Projects that Let You Travel the World Virtually

Swim with orcas in Puget Sound or walk among big cats in Costa Rica, all without ever leaving your couch.

Citizen Science Salon iconCitizen Science Salon
By Nathaniel Scharping
Jan 27, 2021 8:00 AMMar 21, 2023 8:20 PM


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Winter weather and the persistent pandemic have pushed many of us to dream about the world beyond our walls. To help ease that wanderlust, we’ve compiled a list of virtual citizen science projects that let you globe-trot while staying safe and warm indoors.

Bon voyage! The SciStarter Team

Instant Wild: Osa Camera Trap

Destination: Costa Rica

Hey all you cool cats and kittens! Ready for warmer climes? The rainforests of Costa Rica are a great place to enjoy the sights while helping researchers track wildcats and their prey in the Osa Peninsula. Keep your eyes out for jaguar, puma and ocelot.

Spiral Graph

Destination: Deep Space

This project is perfect for REALLY getting away. Travel to deep space with Spiral Graph. While there, you’ll help classify distant galaxies. By tracing the spiral arms of galaxies like our Milky Way, astronomers can learn more about these “island universes,” including their supermassive black holes.


Destination: Puget Sound

You don’t even need a wetsuit for this virtual underwater adventure. Travel to the Pacific Northwest and help scientists study — and save — the southern resident killer whales. As an Orcasound citizen scientist, you’ll listen for whales, report dangerous noises and help decode orca language.

CrowdWater Game

Destination: Cities Near and Far

Stroll city streets around the world, from Zurich to Kuala Lumpur, using citizen scientist submitted images in the CrowdWater Game. You’ll virtually measure water levels, soil moisture and more. And your contributions could help scientists make potential insights into future floods and droughts.

Land Loss Lookout

Destination: Gulf Coast

How about a tour down the Mississippi River Delta on North America’s Gulf Coast? This landscape is one of the most fertile in the world, but the wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate. Land Loss Lookout teaches participants how to monitor the impacts of oil and gas development, as well as sea-level rise.

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