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How to start a local environmental monitoring project

If you are facing an environmental health concern and want to undertake a research project that will address it, please read this page on designing an appropriate research project:

How to start a community-based technology development project:

Lots of people have expressed interest in using the Public Lab network as a platform to develop and/or refine a DIY environmental science method. That's great -- it's one reason we started Public Lab in the first place -- and we've found this checklist to be a good starting point for such collaborations.

  • Start by writing to the main Public Lab mailing list to introduce your problem or idea. Engage in discussion with people who respond. Perhaps there's a topical list that relates as well -- check that mailing lists page for "plots-waterquality" or "plots-airquality"
  • Create a wiki page to introduce your project and explain the environmental or health concern you're investigating. New template being drafted up here:
  • Following that template will prompt you to define a unique tag for your project, also choose other topic-related tags to add to your wiki
  • Share your ongoing work in Research Notes with a consistent tag so people can follow your work as it develops
  • Nominate yourself to the organizers group to get connected with Public Lab leaders from around the world

Staff support

Once you've completed the above, we're happy to help, but given our limited staff resources, we ask that you post a minimum of three research notes before engaging with staff on:

  • Mentorship sit-down sessions
  • Helping you grow your community through matchmaking
  • Assistance on joint fundraising for tutorials, tool assembly diagrams, videos, research supplies, community workshops and software for processing data from the hardware -- see
  • coordination of bulk buys
  • Assistance with tool distribution and bulk mailing