Citclops Project

Technical Tracking Sheet of the quality of surface water during the course of the BWR 2014-15, Project of all 60 IMOCA participants

Smartphone on board, with the Citclops app
Departure of the vessel: 31 December 2014

Data and units

Color of surface water (Forel-Ule scale)


Collection of data and systematic transmissions by the skippers: photos are sent from smartphones (SONY Xperia Z3) using the Citclops app. These are geolocalized photographs of surface water masses taken during the regatta, for evaluation and analysis of color, in accordance with the method and scientific system of measurements established by the Forel-Ule scale (water color comparator scale of 21 levels), as it relates to transparency and plankton.


App Citclops. EThis app is available to the general public, free of charge, on mobile Androids and iOS.

Data utility

The Citclops project puts into place a system of observation, based on participatory science, in order to optically monitor the coast and ocean. Specifically, the Citclops project has developed systems for collecting and utilizing data such as color, transparency and fluorescence of seawater using low-cost sensors along with contextual information and participation from citizens. The innovative value of Citclops app project, with its corresponding technological development of applied ICT, is the promotion of participatory science as a strategy for spreading environmental values and encouraging eco-friendly practices.  

On-line Data 

Georeferenced data is received in function of the skippers’ usage of the Citclops app, Citclops-BWR

  • Several natural phenomena can change the color of the water, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the water is of poor quality. The number of different colors mainly correspond to the following types of water masses:
  • Indigo blue to greenish-blue, with high penetration of light (1-5 FU scale).
  • These waters often have low levels of nutrients and low biomass production. The color is often due to a strong presence of microscopic algae (phytoplankton).
  • Greenish-blue to teal (6-9 FU scale). The color continues to be dominated by the algae, but increased dissolved matter and some sediment can also be present. Typical of open-sea areas.
  • Greenish (10-13 FU scale). Often coastal waters, which tend to show higher levels of nutrients and phytoplankton, but also contain minerals and dissolved organic matter.
  • Greenish-brown to earth green (14-17 FU scale). Generally shows a high concentration of phytoplankton and nutrients, and also increased sediment and dissolved organic matter. Typical of coastal areas and tidal plains.
  • Earth green to brown (18-21 FU scale). Waters with a very high concentration of humic acids, typical of rivers and estuaries.

 Photographs taken from the One Planet Ocean Ocean – Pharmaton at the BWR 2014-15

On-line progress reports on data

Progress of the route and data at Citclops-BWR Citclops-BWR.

Data Analysis

During the race, the collection of optical property values of seawater will be carried out, measuring values such as transparency and color of water using the Forel-Ule scale, composed of 21 different colors and integrated within the Citclops application. These properties provide indicators related to waste water, dissolved organic matter, sediment load, biological activity, as well as the distinction between pollution and natural pigmentation. The information compiled by the Citclops application consists of different types of parameters, including geographic coordinates, type of area, climatic conditions (such as cloud fraction, rain, wind and waves) and the Forel-Ule value. Data received feed a decision support system specifically set up in the framework of the project, and designed to assist researchers in water management in drawing conclusions.

Scientific Management

Project lead by Barcelona Digital Centre Tecnològic, in the role of coordinator, with the participation of the NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research) and the ICM-CSIC (Institute of Martime Sciences-Spanish National Research Council). This project has been developed in the framework of the European project FP7 Citclops (Citizens Observatory for Coast and Ocean Optical Monitoring). 

Additional Information

Póster Citclops

Photos and videos 

Photos and videos of the project: (starting at minute 0:45)