Water Rangers FAQ

Water Rangers is open to everyone! You can make observations or report issues about waterways like oceans, rivers, lakes and streams. We're not just citizen science data though; we also import data and share it in a way that is easy to understand.

How to use Water Rangers

Water Rangers is designed to be easy for anyone to use. We've also got an iOS app you can download from the app store. It can be used for collecting information even if you don't have an internet connection (sync when you return home). To view data, you need to be on this website.

Here is a walk-through of some of our main features

Some Frequently Asked Questions

How do I explore near me?

To geolocate to your current location, click on the symbol in the bottom right corner of the map.

Registering or signing up

You can explore the map even when you're not logged in. Use the sign-up or Login buttons on the top right if you want to add observations, record issues or join a group.

Add a new observation

You need to be logged in to record new observations. To find in your current location, you can either use the map search, or click the button in the bottom right corner to geolocate yourself. Click on the map and you'll see a pop-up where you can:

  • Add an observation: If this is the first time recording at this location, you will be asked to define the location. You only have to do this once.
  • Report an issue: If this is the first time recording at this location, you will be asked to define the location. You only have to do this once.
  • Add a location: If you just want to mark a spot for future testing, you can do so.

I don't know anything about water... where should I start?

The great thing about citizen science is that you don't need much to get started. Your first observation can be a photo and some notes about what you see, smell, and you don't need any special equipment for that.

If you'd like to get started testing the waters, we recommend you look for an established Community Based Monitoring Program near you. There are organizations in every watershed that do this. We have a few already on our platform, but there's thousands more.

If you have testing equipment, record your training and what equipment you have on your profile so that others can gauge its quality.

If you are already a volunteer for an organization and are following their protocol, record that too. We can also help you set up a group for them so your data can be groups under the same protocol.

Some basic guidelines for temperature:

You can also get started recording basic parameters, like air and water temperature. Just get yourself a waterproof thermometer.

  • Air temperature: Hang your thermometer for at least 5 minutes in a shady spot. Do not let it press against anything (including your body!).
  • Water temperature: Always test in the same location, and leave your thermometer in the water for 5 minutes. Set a timer if you're not sure!

I want to do more!

We have developed testkits that (almost) anyone can use. They are available for purchase at our testkit store. We also have training videos and a field guide. If you're near Ottawa, you can come pick your kit up!

Can I see some cool examples?

Reporting issues

Issues are a great way to track problems over time. Report things like pollution, algae blooms, water quality issues, shoreline alterations, wildlife problems (like excessive fish deaths), or other.

We create a timeline for your issue. You can report it to a group that accepts issues and they can help you solve it. You can also keep track of who you reported it to and when.

We encourage you to change your issue's status, and eventually resolve or close it. Resolving means that you fixed it, whereas closing it means that it disappeared on its own. For example, if it was garbage and you cleaned it up, it would be marked as resolved, whereas if an algae bloom disappeared, it would be marked as closed.

Can I see some cool examples?

All about groups

How do I start my own monitoring group?

Fill out this form and we'll get your started. It's free to have a group on our platform.

My group has some existing data we'd like to import...

We can help you import it so you'll have a nice base to get you started. Just contact us and we'll work with you to get that in.

What kinds of things can a group do?

As a group admin, you get to display information about your group, with links to any other websites or reports you may have. We allow you to recruit volunteers, and as admin you have the ability to confirm that they are part of your group.

You can also define what region you support. Just draw a shape on the map in your admin section, and people visiting your profile will know where you're based. You will also be notified if any new observations or issues are reported in that region.

Group admins can also decide if they would like issues reported to them. If you choose yes, then users can select you when they report things like pollution, algae blooms and more.

How groups can draw regions, and how to use the map filters.

Some great group examples

About water monitoring

Why is it important to monitor clean water sources?

Water systems are complex, and often by the time we notice problems, we might not have data on what they should look like. To understand if something is normal, we need a baseline.

Who are the Water Rangers?

We are a Canadian Registered non-profit based in Ottawa, Ontario. Our team love the water and want to use their technical skills to protect it. We are also a big believer in open-data, and that it can be presented in a way that is easy to understand for everyone. Learn more about us