(MENAFN- PR Newswire) HARRISONBURG, Va., May 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Memorial Day holiday kicks off the summer vacation season, James Madison University professor Shelley Whitmeyer is hoping beachgoers will help collect data for an important coastal science project.
All that's required to participate in "SandSnap" is taking a photo of a coin in the sand with a cellphone and uploading it to a website. continue reading
The information ultimately could help coastal decision-makers better manage areas prone to erosion.
With a coin and a phone beachgoers can help collect data for an important coastal science project.
A computer using a machine-learning algorithm does the rest, giving scientists information on the various sizes of sand grains.
Whitmeyer has been assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the project the past several years, promoting the project to Girl Scout troops and others. This week, a sign was placed on the boardwalk at Fire Island National Seashore, a barrier island off Long Island, New York, inviting the public to participate. The sign will be there for the next five years, but photos can be taken on any beach around the world.
When Whitmeyer works with groups, she usually gives some instructions on how to take the photos. Now it's time to see how the public at Fire Island does going off instructions on the sign.
"I have a tendency to butt in too much," she quipped.
So how can photos of sand help scientists?
Coastlines change rapidly. Normal tides, storms with high winds and people on the beach all move sand around. SandSnap is taking a look at how sand moves. The information ultimately could help coastal decision-makers better manage areas prone to erosion.
Inviting the public to participate has some important benefits. Scientists can get more data faster than if they have to collect it all themselves and it promotes trust in science, Whitmeyer said.
"We do know there is distrust of science in the general community and I think part of that is, people think that science is a set of facts and therefore if they're true, they should never change. That's not really what science is. Science is more about a process where we keep collecting data and we keep revising what we know because we learn new things. If people understand the process better, I think they might trust the science a bit more."
More information about SandSnap can be found on the sandsnap website .
SOURCE James Madison University
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