Ocean Conservancy

Mobile app makes data collection easy

Improved volunteer engagement by going mobile

Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean using the Clean Swell app. The app was developed to streamline data collection for trash cleanups from over 500,000 volunteers, allowing Ocean Conservancy to easily collect data year-round.

Nick Mallos

"Beaconfire RED understands the importance of digital tools and strategies in advancing conservation impact. Their deliverables are of the highest quality and they have always built our digital tools with the end-user in mind, thus maximizing the usability and uptake of the final products."

Nick Mallos
Director, Trash Free Seas Program
Ocean Conservancy

Data Streamlined by App

Ocean Conservancy hosts the annual International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer effort to pick up trash along beaches and waterways. Collecting and reporting on data from this event enables Ocean Conservancy to measure impact and change over time. For 30 years, recording, compiling, and entering data from its 500,000+ volunteers was an arduous and time-consuming process.

Beaconfire RED worked with Ocean Conservancy to design and build a mobile application, Clean Swell. Used by volunteers worldwide to record the types and quantities of trash they are collecting, Clean Swell is available in 3 languages (English, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian) with more to come. 

Clean Swell, available in iOs and Android, also provides tools for social sharing and awards badges to encourage participation. Distance, time, and route is tracked via GPS. Co-branded versions of the app are available for Ocean Conservancy partners, with geofencing to define partner territories. The Clean Swell app enables volunteers to enter trash collection data in real time.

All of the data is submitted directly to the Ocean Conservancy database, TIDES, also developed by Beaconfire RED (see below). The online database receives data from both manual data entry and the Clean Swell app.  Data visualization via integration with Google Maps shows the worldwide impact of the International Coastal Cleanup and volunteers around the globe.  Location-based reporting and analytics provide deeper insights into data.

The Clean Swell app solved a real programmatic need for Ocean Conservancy, extended data collection year round, and is an enhanced solution that easily connects scientists, students, and the public to real time data. Users walking the beach can tally types and quantities of trash collected then submit their results to researchers working to stop ocean trash.

As of 2019, the app has 68,498 downloads. Since launch in 2014, Clean Swell users have submitted 31,673 cleanups and earned 25,904 badges.