Validity and Reliability of Drainage Infrastructure Monitoring Data Obtained from Citizen Scientists Academic Article uri icon


  • 2019 American Society of Civil Engineers. Data on the quality of small-scale infrastructure assets at the neighborhood level tend to be scarce, delayed, or even nonexistent, limiting the ability of local communities to better manage assets, identify risks, and improve performance. Participatory methods, common in ecology and environmental science, provide an opportunity for producing these fine data. However, very little is known about the validity and reliability of infrastructure data collected by volunteer members of the public. In this paper, we examine the validity and reliability of local drainage infrastructure monitoring data obtained from citizen scientists. The volunteer citizen scientists were high school students collecting data about the condition of stormwater infrastructure in their local community. The study took place in an environmental justice neighborhood in Houston with a long history of flooding and exposure to environmental hazards. The results suggest that with adequate planning, training, and organized community engagement efforts, the validity and reliability of data collected by citizen scientists can be comparable to physical measurements and data obtained from trained inspectors.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 8.15

author list (cited authors)

  • Oti, I. C., Gharaibeh, N. G., Hendricks, M. D., Meyer, M. A., Van Zandt, S., Masterson, J., Horney, J. A., & Berke, P.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Oti, Isaac C||Gharaibeh, Nasir G||Hendricks, Marccus D||Meyer, Michelle A||Van Zandt, Shannon||Masterson, Jaimie||Horney, Jennifer A||Berke, Philip

publication date

  • September 2019