Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2023.


Computer Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Sean Choi


Every day, beachgoers witness important environmental phenomena that go completely undocumented. Huge amounts of potential data that could be used for research are lost because people don’t have the means to report them, or simply don’t understand their significance. Additionally, many of these phenomena are potentially harmful, and are relatively unknown to the public. In this paper, we develop an iOS and Android mobile app called Coastal, with the goal of crowdsourcing reports of phenomena on the Santa Cruz coast. We hope that in the future, applications like Coastal can be used for both collecting data for environmental research, and for improving the experience of beachgoers. Through the process of developing Coastal, we identified several significant challenges associated with crowdsourcing these reports, including verifying reports and handling reports for mobile/dynamic phenomena. As of the time of this publication, Coastal is not suitable for public use due to these unresolved challenges, but we see it as a potentially valuable tool for data collection by dedicated and trustworthy environmentalist groups. Additionally, Coastal will remain open-source and development will be continued indefinitely. For related projects, we recommend the exploration of user reputation-based verification systems, dynamic tracking of reports for similar phenomena in nearby locations, and increased social and collaborative features.