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