Practioners' Community

Put your biogas project on the map!

Help Create the Solar CITIES Crowd Sourced Community Cloud Citizen Science Computing Network!

Find the map at

How to do it

  • Go to
  • To get started use our registration form at the front page
  • Once you have an account you can add a digester.

Add your digester

For adding a digester use our general instructors:

  1. Add a title. Something like (The monster of Loch Ness)
  2. Add a description. We want to know what your digester is about.
  3. Upload some photos
  4. Enter your location
  5. Add your address -> use the address-field and narrow down with the map or use the lon / lat field
  6. You have to add some details

All fields marked with an * (asterisk) are mandantory field

If you don't know how to get lon / lat here are some explanaitions.

1) Go to google map Locate the general area where you did your biogas system and zoom in and move around until you can see the spot where you did the build.  Don't worry if you can't see the system itself from space -- most Google satellite maps are rather old. 

2) Locate the position of your biogas build and right click on that location.  A pop up will appear with several options. Select "What's here?".  When you do this a little window should open up on the top left of your map with the name of the location and the latitude longitude, something like this:



29.967362, 35.059758

The number to the left of the comma is the latitude.  The number to the right is the longitude.

Copy and paste each one into the field we provide for lat and lon (if this option isn't available because you haven't registered yet, simply post them to our facebook group at

Your build will soon appear on the Solar CITIES community map and give a chance for citizen scientists, tinkerers and bricoleurs around the planet to come together and improve the art and science of home and community scale biogas!

Why do this?

You've heard of cloud computing, right?

Besides the fun and fame of having your biogas project on the map, you will be doing the small biogas movement a world of good!

The idea is to treat information as a public utility and spread capital costs among users so that one can "reduce costs significantly while increasing the speed of application development" (so sayeth Wikipedia, one of the most cumulonimbus of clouds!). You've probably also heard of Berkeley's SETI@home project, wherein you lend some of your computing power to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. It is no secret that when we pool our resources we can develop economies of scale, and that science can proceed much more rapidly when we increase our sample sizes by sharing data openly and without restriction.

You've probably also heard of "Crowd Sourcing" wherein "the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task (also known as community-based design[1] and distributed participatory design), refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm (see Human-based computation), or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data." (thank you you wonderful innumerable contributors to Wikipedia!)

If you are really nerd-hip-cool, you probably already have participated in some "Citizen Science" Projects (Citizen Science is any "ongoing program of scientific work in which individual volunteers or networks of volunteers, many of whom may have no specific scientific training, perform or manage research-related tasks such as observation, measurement or computation." (Thanks Wiki!) With Citizen Science "professional researchers" (the ones with all the extensive training and responsibility who also get paychecks for their explorations) not only are able to engage the public but are able to achieve research objectives that were heretefore impossible without NASA size budgets and facilities.

You've probably heard of all this. You've probably seen it in action (that's why you come to blogs like this -- to find out if we've caught on yet!). Yeah, we wouldn't be blogging if we weren't hip to these concepts.

What we haven't often seen is effective poverty alleviation or sustainable development operating using the cloud model, the crowd model, the citizen science model. As Paul Polak et al. point out in "Design for the Other 90%" most of our most talented designers, inventors, innovators, artists, mathematicians, scientists, engineers and musicians (I could go on -- "our most talented janitors, mothers, businesspeople, teachers, security professionals" etc.) are caught up in thinking about the very few -- the elite, the upper middle class, the people who can pay. An awful lot of energy goes into creating ever more efficient and aesthetically pleasing gadgets, trinkets and toys. But when it comes to creating technologies for the rest of humanity that can help stop environmental and social decay the field gets very thin.

Too often we find ourselves "re-inventing the wheel", needlessly replicating experiments that have already failed, failing to replicate the ones that succeed and waiting for serendipity to put us in touch with like minded people who can share results and experiences that could potentially protect biodiversity, clean environments, end suffering and save lives.

Solar CITIES is dedicated to "Connecting Community Catalysts Integrating Technologies for Industrial Ecology Solutions", so our mission suggests a personal cloud computing model.

In many discussions in Cairo, Egypt, South Central Los Angeles and Seattle Washington, whilst building home-scale biogas reactors and solar hot water systems, Solar CITIES colleague Mike Rimoin and I amped up the volume of our enthusiasm through the sustained beat of "cloud computing as the best way to use Web 2.x to accelerate innovation and implementation of much needed home and community scale envirotechnology." In his mid-late 20s, as a business school grad, Mike well understands how cloud computing, crowd sourcing and citizen science are transforming the so-called 1st world. We want very much to bring these paradigm shifting tools and techniques to the art of sustainable development.

To that end we are inviting you to participate in the Solar CITIES Crowd Sourced Community Cloud Citizen Science Network (yes, YOU -- if you've read this far you are part of the team, someone who stands out of the maddening crowd because you are IN with the cloud source crowd).

What do you have to do?

For starters, because we are following up on a  National Geographic Innovations Challenge Project working to improve the efficiency of small-scale biodigestors around the world, you would build your own bio-reactor (believe us, it isn't hard). You would build one at any scale, feed it, and share your results with us.

We need data - lots and lots and lots of data.

We need replicability. We need scalability -- we need to know how these things operate at the smallest and largest sizes and everything in-between. And we need lots and lots of trial and error with different parameters and different controls, under different temperatures and pressures and pH's, with different bacteria, different ecologies, different feedstocks. We need to see how these systems operate by the ocean, in the mountains, in the forests, on balconies, in backyards, in garages and basements, in the snow, in the desert...

Since nobody is going to fund such an ambitious project (because household and community scale do-it-yourself technologies that are affordable and adaptable to the conditions of the very very poor and use local recycled materials and social liquidity to operate rarely create profit) we need a virtual army of tinkerers sharing the results of worldwide bricolage.

To rephrase an old saying appropo to citizen science: We are not professionals. Please DO try this at home!


Love the streamlining. This is clear and engaging. Can't wait to add more digesters. The explanation of how to do it is very clear! Thanks.