Engaging Visitors in the Arctic through Citizen Science 

Abisko is a small but internationally recognised and well visited place north of the Arctic circle in Sweden. Known for its epic scenery and national park, its constant blue sky provides guests with the midnight sun in Summer and northern lights during Winter. Tucked away from all tourist activities sits the Climate Impacts Research Centre (CIRC), a natural science centre with staff stationed year-round. The public knows little about the research centre or what they are doing, but my interviews revealed that people are very curious about what the CIRC is doing.

The problem is CIRC researchers have "no time for outreach" even though it is part of the publicly-funded centre's duties. 

HikeLab is a service to improve the public outreach of the CIRC by engaging hikers through digital and in-the-wild touchpoints. The concept opens up a dialogue between scientists and visitors, that didn't exist before. We proposed the ongoing research be more available to a wide audience through three levels of engagement as described below. 


BRIEF Design a service that satisfies public outreach requirements of a scientific research centre.

TEAM Emily Keller, James McIntrye, Jenni Toriseva, Marcel Penz

Do not satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken peoples’ curiosity! It’s enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire.
— Nobel laureate Anatole France

Process bits:



Three Levels of Engagement:

1. Low - passive monitoring

Hikers receive a map with recommended CIRC hikes and a booklet outlining the research done in the areas. They have the opportunity to contribute by collecting data with a small environment sensor that clips on their bag.  When linked to a geographical location information such as air quality, temperature, and air pressure is very interesting for the scientists.

jenni with map2.jpg

2. Intermediate - Photo monitoring

In addition, camera platforms are placed around the trails in places where scientists want to track changes in the landscape over time. They cannot leave a time-lapse camera cannot be due to harsh weather and maintenance issues but the hiker can take photos with either their mobile phone or camera and uploads them to CIRC database. 


← 3. High - Advanced Data Collection

Hiker who wish to engage in the climate research can get even closer to doing exciting field work by borrowing instruments and tools from the tourist station. This requires an orientation session where they are taught simple test methods before they are able to go out and take a water or soil samples and report back. They use either the booklet or the mobile app to document their findings.


Detailed service blueprint 


UPDATE – Check out the digital logbook