Ocean Conservancy

Mobile app makes data collection easy

Improved volunteer engagement by going mobile

The Clean Swells app was developed to streamline data collection for trash cleanups from over 500,000 volunteers, allowing Ocean Conservancy to easily collect data year-round.

Nick Mallos

"Beaconfire RED understands the importance of digital tools and strategies in advancing conservation impact. Their deliverables are of the highest quality and they have always built our digital tools with the end-user in mind, thus maximizing the usability and uptake of the final products."

Nick Mallos
Director, Trash Free Seas Program
Ocean Conservancy

Data Streamlined by App

For years Ocean Conservancy has used an online database (developed by Beaconfire RED) to store ocean trash data collected along beaches and waterways during the International Coastal Cleanup. For 30 years, recording, compiling, and entering data was an arduous and time consuming process. The Clean Swell app enables the 500,000+ International Coastal Cleanup volunteers to enter trash collection data in real time, track their cleanups and earn badges for their efforts. Historically, volunteers recorded data on a physical card which local Coordinators then manually entered into the online database. The app streamlines data entry into a new and improved database allowing data to easily be collected and uploaded year-round. The new database, TIDES (also developed by Beaconfire RED), accepts data from both manual data entry and the Clean Swell app.  Data visualization via integration with Google Maps shows the worldwide impact of the International Coastal Cleanup and volunteers around the globe.  Improved location-based reporting and analytics provide deeper insights into data.

The Clean Swell app solved a real programmatic need for Ocean Conservancy and is an enhanced solution that easily connects scientists, students, and the public to real time data. Users walking the beach can tally types and quantiles of trash collected then submit their results to researchers working to stop ocean trash. Distance, time and route are tracked via GPS and data entered in the app automatically flows to Ocean Conservancy’s TIDES database. As of 2016 the app had 7,124 downloads, 8,826 cleanup submissions and 5,023 badges earned.