Capturing critical data in aid of the global marine debris crisis.

Since its launch, the app has been used by diving communities across 180 countries. The Dive Against Debris surveys continue to help PADI AWARE and other organisations better understand the types of quantities of marine debris found globally, with 1.5m pieces of debris reported.

The app optimises every aspect of data capture ensuring divers enter high quality data. Elements that were previously complex and error prone have been greatly improved with full offline and online use. Making the app accessible from any location.


Items of debris reported

survey overview map for padi aware mobile app

The challenge

Before partnering with PADI, Project AWARE came to us with the challenge of creating a compelling and easy to use mobile experience, enabling divers to capture vital ‘Dive Against Debris’ data. We needed to transform their physical, printed data capture form into an intuitive and enjoyable app experience.

We were up for the challenge! So began to review their diverse datasets, and user journeys to truly understand the requirements and opportunities for enhancement.

diving taking part in dive against debris project
padi aware logo

Optimising data capture

Identifying how the dense datasets would need to be segmented for users was key. Transforming a highly manual and repetitive process into a guided, accurate data entry experience. 

Divers are now able to plot dive site areas directly onto the map, automatically calculating the latitude/longitude entry. Missing data is no longer an issue, providing clear validation to users, and every piece of debris can be logged and validated with the use of clear inputs and the ability to upload photographs.

Survey screen for mobile app PADI
survey screen padi aware app

Working offline – recording survey data in the middle of the ocean

From a scientific point of view, recording data as soon as it is discovered is key to accuracy, so it’s vital that divers can enter all their Dive Against Debris citizen science data anytime, anywhere – even if they were in the middle of the ocean with no signal.  

The Dive Against Debris survey data collection was designed to ensure that the divers could progress through the data entry without a signal, and be saved as a draft ready to submit when back in range.  The validation pattern on the app means the diver can progress through the app entering as much data as they have to hand but also later add or amend critical data when they have time to check and find out anything they have missed.

men on sailing boat with man using mobile phone
draft survey screen for citizen science project app padi aware

Push notifications – keeping up to date with surveys

Divers are able to save multiple ‘draft’ surveys. Local and push notifications ensure divers are kept up to date and engaged with pending and approved results.

push notification for environmental app

Visualising local action for global change

The global movement of divers can be viewed on our web based Action Map, amplifying the conservation efforts of the PADI AWARE communities. Custom map nodes identify ‘Adopt the Blue’ ocean sites as well as all ‘Dive Against Debris site’ locations.

website action map padi

Combining legacy infrastructure with new

When we first partnered with the AWARE team, they had a Drupal website in place for their users and the Dive Against Debris citizen science database.  Since then we’ve added new features to the app such as Adopt The Blue and these features have required integration to external systems such as emaIl and CRM, and new web platforms for visualisation of the data.  In order to achieve this, the newer features have been built using new infrastructure choices but to the user, they all seamlessly work together.

Screens for adopt the blue citizen science app development
“This app is going to make a huge difference in gathering critically needed data to reveal the extent of the global marine debris crisis for scientists and help conservationists to advocate for change. There is a tide of debris suffocating the ocean. We have to reverse it.”
Danna Moore
Director of global opportunities, PADI AWARE