Mosquito Traps and Digital Land Cover Data: Guest Scientist Blog by Bhaskar J., 2020 NASA SEES Intern

Hi everyone, my name is Bhaskar J, and I'm interning with the SEES Mosquito Mappers research team this summer, in which we use the GLOBE Observer citizen science app.  There are a lot of moving parts to it, but overall it's been an incredible experience!

One part of the program is catching mosquito larvae in our home-made traps. See the attached images showing how I made mine!

Figure. 1  Steps I used to create a mosquito larvae trap.

At first, I was a little distraught because I wasn't able to catch that many mosquito larvae and wasn't able to identify them. However, after adding some sugar in my water and covering them with better shade, the number of mosquito larvae found in my traps increased significantly. It's a fun experiment to try at home, and I would definitely recommend playing around with different traps and baits!

Another part of our project is analyzing land cover images. I created in a 3.5 x 3.5 km grid with a center point indicated in yellow. In this grid, 36 equally spaced points were placed inside. Using the GLOBE Observer application for iOS, six pictures — up, down, north, south, east, and west — were taken for all 37 points in this grid. And later, we analyzed these points using satellite images using the Collect Earth Online's  (CEO) interface (https://collect.earth/). CEO is an Image Analysis Crowdsourcing Platform. Here is a representation (using ArcGIS) of what we've been doing this summer:

Figure 2. Screenshot of analyzed land cover data points, imported into ArcGIS Online.

Yep, I analyzed all those points by hand, and it was definitely a lot of work. However, the analysis was super useful in my final research project, and it exposed me to both a slew of new tools and an entirely different line of thinking and perspective on our world!

Baskar J.  is a high school student from New Jersey who is working on a research project this summer using the GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper. His virtual internship is part of a collaboration between the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) to extend the TSGC Summer Enhancement in Earth Science (SEES) internship for U.S. high school (http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/sees-internship/). He shares his experience this summer in this guest blog post.

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