Run, Hike and Bike for science

Run4Science/Hike4Science/Bike4Science is an initiative from with the COS4CLOUD project that connects passionate runners with passionate scientists.

What is it?

So, we came up with a crazy idea: measure both environmental and biodiversity using an app and a bunch of low cost sensors... while running (that's one of our passions at DDQ).
From a scientists point of view this is very interesting, because humans can cover large and remote areas while measuring. A user is able to create a map of measurements and get an idea of their healthy environment.
We measure air/water quality and take pictures of biodiversity (eg lichens) with small sensors and collect the data in the MOBIS framework (which allows to combine sensor data from different sources).

The problem

At this moment it’s very difficult for scientists to gather consistent measurements in remote locations. Think for example water quality in mountain lakes, the growth of lichens and mosses on mountain peaks or identifying (rare) birds in uninhabited deltas. Due to natural constraints it’s usually not feasible to place permanent monitoring stations in remote locations. Permanent sensors are vulnerable and inconsistent in remote locations; mountain areas get covered with snow and ice in winter, lack consistent sunshine to power electronics equipment, are susceptible to vandalism or natural destruction. Sending the data over satellite is very expensive, and fetching the data regularly can be cumbersome. Passionate sports persons usually cover long distances and specifically look for places far from civilisation surrounded by raw nature. This makes them the ideal candidates for in field data acquisition.

(DDQ co-i Joep running with sensors in Brasov, Romania)

DDQ has helped develop various apps that allow individuals with a mobile phone to contribute to science while doing what they love. Scientists can organize campaigns or (one-time) events where nature loving people are sent into the wild with a large selection of sensors to gather data.

How does it work? (Scientist)

• decide on your thesis and what you want to investigate
• choose which data can be provided by already existing (mobile) sensors or develop your own specialized sensor
• choose the area(s) and time period for which you want to obtain measurements
• DDQ will create an initiative to gather sports people in the area
• see the data come in for research

How does it work? (Runner/Hiker/Biker)

• register for the event
• install the app on your phone
• pick up the sensors
• you will receive a list of points of interest. You can make your own routes, and/or visit the points during multiple activities within a certain period of time
• make measurements when the app indicates a measurement should be taken
• some sensors will make continuous measurements and don’t require manual intervention
• finish your activity
• return the sensors
• see how you contributed to the data set and science
• optional: you will be included in a newsletter on the project findings

The Sensors

Currently, these sensors are supported:

Internal sensors (Camera, Gyro, Compass, GPS)
Screenshot 2022-02-02 at 15.06.28

Mini Secchi disk
iSPEX 2 (PM2.5/Sensirion)

(We are working on a PL@NTNET interface too!)

And more to come.

The App


We are developing and prototyping the COS4CLOUD MOBIS app. A free app that can handle multiple observations coming from sensors (external) but also internal ones like the camera.

The Map

The data is processed and shown within the app or on a separate website.

The data

The data will be made FAIR (Findable – Accessible – Interoperable - Reusable) trough the European Open Science Cloud (EGI hosted server). We are currently using the OGC Sensor Things API for this.



We are running with multiple sensors to gather data from both air/water quality and biodiversity. The data are processed and stored in the MOBIS framework. Mobis is a novel service to integrate all kinds of low cost sensor data. The service is listed on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Data is processed and stored on the European Grid Interface (EGI). Data is stored following GDPR regulations and made interoperable following OGC (Sensor Things) standards.
Most of the research and development work is done thanks to the COS4CLOUD EU H2020 initiative.
This Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 863463


Interested in joining the movement either as a runner/hiker or scientist? Drop us a mail: [email protected] and we will surely get back to you!

The MOBIS/COS4CLOUD Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 863463