Joining the Litterati (sort of)

A few months ago I first tried out an app called Litterati, which encourages people to not only clean up litter, but to photograph it, tag it, and place it on a map as citizen science, so that those who are trying to combat litter at its source have information on what kind of garbage is showing up where.

The app also tracks your total count of what you've cleaned up so you can compare yourself to others and even create your own club for a little friendly competition and added motivation.

I love the idea of the app, but it and my tablet are not getting along when it comes to mapping. That's part of why I stopped using it when I initially downloaded it in the summer. I decided recently to give it another go, but the problem persists. For example, this pair of balloons was tumbling around behind the Humber College residence buildings, but when I uploaded the photo it placed them on the other side of campus beside a major intersection (and it's a big campus).

I assume the problem is with my tablet (which qualifies as old in the world of tech) and I can't find a way to edit the placement of the litter on the map. For now, I've discovered that if I leave my GPS off, the litter gets added to my tally without appearing on the map at all. That means I can still keep track of how much litter I've picked up with my personal counter, but I won't be able to contribute to the citizen science portion of the project.

It's far from ideal, as adding to our local knowledge of litter sources is what drew me to the app in the first place, but for now I'll settle for challenging myself to help to clean it up. If I ever join the 2000s and get a smartphone, I assume the mapping will go a lot smoother.

Outside of my technological failings, I do hope that someday Litterati has the resources to take a page from iNaturalist and add a more robust web presence where you can log into your account on the site, add notes about your adventures, connect with other local Litterati, plan public clean-ups, etc. I've sent them an email - we'll see what the future brings.

Want to get in on the action? Litterati is available in both the Apple App store and on Google Play.