Aside from an interest in surnames, I keep an eye on cold-regions research. I spent a lot of time as an undergraduate studying glaciers and became heavily involved in the Polar Science/ Cold Regions research community. Many of the results from this research are extremely relevant as they inform to a large extent the climate change debate. Unfortunately, I often found myself speaking with many researchers who lacked the technical ability and motivation to engage with the public and harness the growing power of Volunteered Geographic Information.

I am therefore extremely impressed with the University of Waterloo’s (Canada)Snowtweets Project. The project, inspired by a UK snow map from Ben Marsh, encourages people to measure snow depths in their local area and instantly publish them to the web via Twitter. Snowtweet users can downlo

ad a standalone viewer called Snowbird that has been developed with Adobe Flex and Papervision3D.  The use of NASA Visible Earth Imagery, a clean interface and great graphics make this a very compelling application. I hope Snowtweets will become very popular in the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter so that it provides a great source of data by empowering the public to engage with cold/ temperate regions research.