Data is an abstract and nebulous concept. It’s hard to pin down, difficult to qualify. Now, more than ever there is an abundance of data. So much data there aren’t enough humans or smart enough machines to extract all the lessons and information hidden in data. Machines can run statistics and make basic connections. We can train them to identify features humans instinctively recognize. Despite advancements in this field, significant limitations still exist. Out of this conundrum came crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing leverages the power of human observational skills and deductive reasoning with the statistical advantages of computers. Using a large body of humans to assess overlapping information, whether the users are skilled or unskilled, turns the work pool into a more efficient network.
My favorite example of crowdsourcing is the Zooniverse. This non-profit leverages crowdsourcing for a wide range of projects, from classifying galaxies to transcribing historic, handwritten documents. In the world of mapping, OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a powerhouse of crowdsourced information. OSM relies on the knowledge and contribution of local citizens to create an accurate map of the world. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) creates tools that work with OSM on humanitarian projects. It’s an invaluable tool for disaster response and development planning.
Getting data into the hands of a large audience is imperative to solving complex problems. Better still if the system is free to users and easy to use. Map Mavin is a collaborative web mapping service that’s easy to share with all your users.
You have the freedom to add your own data layers to a map and share it with all of your collaborators. As an Admin, you choose which layers your users can modify and which layers are read-only. Admins have all the control as they can invite specific users to a map using only the user’s email address, or they can create a map that is open to the public and easily accessible.
Once your users are on the map, they can make changes or add new information to your data layers. Not only can all your users contribute to the same map, they can also share their screens with other users on Screen Share and message with Map Mavin’s chat function.
Working together on a mapping project has never been easier. Map Mavin helps you leverage the skills and expertise of people from across the world to get the information you need.