Articles | Volume 14, issue 10
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2681–2698, 2014
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2681–2698, 2014

Research article 06 Oct 2014

Research article | 06 Oct 2014

Evaluating data quality collected by volunteers for first-level inspection of hydraulic structures in mountain catchments

V. J. Cortes Arevalo1,2, M. Charrière1, G. Bossi2, S. Frigerio2, L. Schenato2, T. Bogaard1, C. Bianchizza3, A. Pasuto2, and S. Sterlacchini4 V. J. Cortes Arevalo et al.
  • 1Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Italian National Research Council, Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection, CNR-IRPI, Padova, Italy
  • 3Institute of International Sociology Gorizia, ISIG, Gorizia, Italy
  • 4Italian National Research Council, Institute for the Dynamic of Environmental Processes, CNR-IDPA, Milan, Italy

Abstract. Volunteers have been trained to perform first-level inspections of hydraulic structures within campaigns promoted by civil protection of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy). Two inspection forms and a learning session were prepared to standardize data collection on the functional status of bridges and check dams. In all, 11 technicians and 25 volunteers inspected a maximum of six structures in Pontebba, a mountain community within the Fella Basin. Volunteers included civil-protection volunteers, geosciences and social sciences students. Some participants carried out the inspection without attending the learning session. Thus, we used the mode of technicians in the learning group to distinguish accuracy levels between volunteers and technicians. Data quality was assessed by their accuracy, precision and completeness. We assigned ordinal scores to the rating scales in order to get an indication of the structure status. We also considered performance and feedback of participants to identify corrective actions in survey procedures. Results showed that volunteers could perform comparably to technicians, but only with a given range in precision. However, a completeness ratio (question/parameter) was still needed any time volunteers used unspecified options. Then, volunteers' ratings could be considered as preliminary assessments without replacing other procedures. Future research should consider advantages of mobile applications for data-collection methods.

Final-revised paper