Modelling support to citizen observatories for strategic Danube Delta planning: Sontea-Fortuna case study

A. B. Venturini, T. H. Assumpção, I. Popescu*, A. Jonoski, D. P. Solomatine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research developments indicate that citizens’ observatories, a novel approach for data collection, management and governance, can provide valuable contributions to strategic delta planning processes. Most citizen observatories are limited in spatial coverage during data collection, according to the citizens’ availability and static locations. However, there are times in which citizens participate as trained volunteers during data collection field campaigns. In this later scenario, an important aspect in organising and maintaining citizen observatories is having a clear plan for data gathering activities, including determination of routes to be followed by these citizens. This article addresses the issue of determining such routes (called pathways) related to the specific problem of gathering data in deltaic areas, which are composed of intricate canals and wetlands. Data collection activities consist of citizens acquiring images and videos with mobile phones at predetermined locations (Points of Interest) that are only accessible by boats. A pathway selection approach is presented, supported by a hydrodynamic model, developed to capture the specific processes of the delta. The aim of the approach is to define: where to send the citizens to fulfil stakeholders’ interest and planning goals, how to reach these points and which pathways should be selected (prioritised based on such interests), considering possible flood patterns. The developed methodology is part of an ongoing H2020 funded research. The proof of concept is carried out in the Sontea-Fortuna area, of the Danube Delta, which, similar to many wetlands, contains a large variety of unique, endemic species. With the developed approach, pathways to be followed by citizens during data collection campaigns were generated and scored considering local interests. Analysis of the boat’s accessibility into the delta during different hydrological scenarios showed that the wetland is more accessible than expected, hence the proposed pathway approach was useful in prioritizing some canals over others. The determined pathways will be applied in field campaigns. The approach can be applied to other delta regions with different environmental problems, such as water quality or ecosystem assessment, contributing to the organisation of effective active citizen data collection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1972-1989
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • citizen observatories
  • Danube Delta
  • delta planning
  • hydrodynamic modelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Modelling support to citizen observatories for strategic Danube Delta planning: Sontea-Fortuna case study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this