Monitoring Ecological Concerns using Volunteered Geographic Information Tools by Engaging Local Communities – EcoVoce



The project entitled “Monitoring Ecological Concerns using Volunteered Geographic Information Tools by Engaging Local Communities” (EcoVoce) is funded by the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) by the PNIII Human Resources Program, subprogram “Research projects for stimulating young independent teams (TE)”.



The project will be implemented 15.05.2022 and 14.05.2024.



Mining regions such as the Apuseni Mountains include complex environmental problems arising from their long-term overexploitation. Adequate methodologies and tools are needed to identify environmental risks and develop networks of local receptors (communities and authorities) that can contribute to problem solving. Due to digitalization, citizens’ participation as part of the solution has never been easier and it is an efficient tool to report specific problems (waste dumping, water pollution) in their proximity and get involved in consultation and decision-making. The ECOVOCE project aims to develop a framework for problem formulation and the bottom-up monitoring of risk, validated by scientific tools (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). It will give a strong voice to the citizens to express their environmental concerns via VGI (Volunteered Geographic Information) app, citizen science (CS) and community-based participatory research actions. The CS networks of volunteers and local authorities developed through the project create the conditions for reciprocal relationships, communication and feedback on community environmental problems. The case-reporting option of the app will mobilize communities to identify specific problems, get informed about local risks and follow up on the remediation. This project contributes to the visibility of Romanian research among the Citizen Science global initiatives, building local CS (monitoring) capacities as an important goal of future policies.



  • EcoVoce app content and architecture;
  • Map of hotspots of environmental problems;
  • Final VGI app version;
  • ECOVOCE app promotion strategy;
  • UAS-based ortophotoplans of the environmental hotspots and flight parameters test;
  • Four students trained in UAS techniques;
  • 3 papers submitted for publication;
  • 2 presentations in international conferences.



  • Lucrina ȘTEFĂNESCU, Project leader, researcher

I have been working in research at the Faculty of Environmental Science and Engineering, at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, since 2008. I have been studying for several years the environmental impact of mining, but I have been interested also in the way communities perceive this impact. I coordinated the research project “Environmental risks in mining areas – connecting expert assessments and social representations for a more efficient risk communication” and I have worked in various research projects on topics such as: vulnerable communities, risk assessment, environmental education and awareness.

Fields of research interest: risk and disaster management, vulnerability analysis, risk communication, citizen science.


  •   Filip Alexandrescu, senior researcher

I work as a scientific researcher II (second degree) at the Research Institute for the Quality of Life at the Romanian Academy. As a sociologist, I have been involved in interdisciplinary projects in the environmental sciences, both in international projects (consortium-based or individual, within EU’s framework program 7) and national (young research teams 2016 and 2021). My research interest is to link social processes with their effects on ecosystems, both urban and rural, and to understand the relationships between social practices and environmental knowledge. I have been involved in the project “Environmental risks in mining areas – connecting expert assessments and social representations for a more efficient risk communication” and have contributed to academic papers published in Land Use Policy and Sustainability and to a paper currently under review by Eurasian Geography and Economics.

Fields of research interest: social construction of risks, knowledge and nonknowledge, citizen understanding of, and involvement in, science.


  • Monika MELTZER, Post-doc researcher

I graduated the Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, then pursued a master’s and doctoral degree in environmental science at the Faculty of Environmental Science and Engineering of the same university, where I also work at the moment. Due to my multidisciplinary training, I specialized in disaster risk communication, and in the research projects I have participated in since 2016, I also gained experience in environmental and disaster risk management.

Fields of research interest: risk communication, risk and disaster management.


  •  Zoltán Török, Associate Professor

 Zoltán Török,  is an Associate Professor at Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Environmental Science and Engineering. He is a member of the Research Institute for Sustainability and Disaster Management based on High Performance Computing (ISUMADECIP).

His scientific research activities focus on the management of chemical industrial risk, in particular the modeling and simulation of chemical accidents and gas dispersions in the atmosphere, quantitative risk analysis for land use planning, risks associated with the extractive mining industry, the use of drones in disaster management and environmental assessments.

In parallel with teaching and research activities, he has participated in training courses in the field of disaster management, organized by the European Civil Protection Mechanism and is a volunteer member of the APELL-TAST team, participating in European training exercises and other volunteering activities in the field.


  • Gheorghe-Gavrilă HOGNOGI, Lecturer

I am working as lecturer at the Faculty of Geography, Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. I am a photography and graphic enthusiast, a passion translated into the elaboration of cartographic materials (by using software such as ArcGIS Pro, Corel Draw, Global Mapper, and Photoshop). Some of my most important research results include the elaboration of scientific articles and involvement in spatial planning, regional geography, tourism or biodiversity research projects.

Skills and expertise: Geography, Regional and urban planning, GIS, RPAS, Digital era-governance (DEG), Extended Reality (XR)


For more information in English you can contact the team at

Our website is in Romanian only:

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