Citizen science is the term for other-than “professional” scientists or experts participating in the science process in order to facilitate projects that are often beyond the physical or fiscal capability of the proposed science concept. These projects most often recruit volunteers to do field work in mass numbers that create raw data often for huge projects. Not a new idea in that in 1900 the National Audubon Society started just such an effort with the Christmas Bird Count (http://www.audubon.org/Bird/cbc/) to document the bird population census in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the perfect example where such a daunting task as documenting as many birds as possible in the world takes considerable manpower unless delegated out to as many people as possible.
The University of Illinois at Chicago started something along the same lines in 1997 (http://projects- squirrel.org/index.shtml) to document squirrels and the list goes on citizen science (http://citizensci.com/) & others (http://projectsquirrel.org/index.shtml).
Even NASA calls upon the amateur astronomers of the world to search for specific oncoming asteroid events. Since 1997, the word about these events is put out via a 800+ email gaggle called the Minor Planet Mailing List run by an amateur Richard Kowalski (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Kowalski) who has since gone on to become a noted astronomer, discovering the first asteroid prior to its impact on Earth.
The citizen scientist is one concept behind Global Maritime Sensing – to promote “citizen science” in the focus of Maritime Domain Awareness.