Coastal and Ocean Resources

Community Education and Citizen Science


Beach Observer is a phone app to help observe, record, and monitor wildlife and marine debris on your favorite shoreline. When vessels accidentally discharge cargo or oil at sea, or when debris of any kind is cast adrift on the ocean, the flotsam and jetsam eventually arrives on shore. In most cases affected landowners, neighborhoods, and communities will be the first to notice the accumulation on local beaches. We developed a mobile phone application to simplify the recording and mapping of wildlife observations, marine debris, and pollution.


The main objectives of the project are to promote citizen science, develop baselines, and analyze change. Beach Observer facilitates the recording, sharing, and networking of credible shoreline observations including wildlife, plants, beach cast animals, and marine debris with geo-tagged observations and photos. Click here for a recorded webinar.

The app works anywhere, even offline, and this version is tailored for objects found on shore or near the coast. Observations can be made public or kept private to individuals or groups. Observations can be downloaded for analysis and use in other software. The free browser based app that works on any device with either Chrome or Safari is available at and a native iPhone application is available from the App Store.

  Like Beach Observer on Facebook for webinar announcements and stories about recent observations.

This app is also available by subscription to organizations for custom applications and branding.