The Canal Observatorywas commissioned by WaterWays for the Open Data Institute’s Data as Culture. The digital interface was created in collaboration with Applied Logic.

The Canal Observatory

Initially built for industrial use, canals in the UK have since evolved into spaces dominated by human living. But the water also attracts species beyond the human, creating an enormous potential to become thriving ecosystems and play a vital role in reversing biodiversity loss.  

The Canal Observatory is a gamified tool for data collection and reflection. It acts as the link between human and non-human worlds, fostering change for a more biodiverse ecosystem.

The tool is an openly accessible online interface that helps interpret and translate the state of the canal. The Canal Observatory challenges who has the power to collect and share data - by using the non-scientific language of ‘canal emojis’, participants can intuitively log what they see in the quadrants located in Camley Street Natural Park and learn about the canal’s health. The Canal Observatory engages citizen scientists to become stakeholders in the future of the canal’s ecosystem.