Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crowdsourcing Scientific data?

In an article published in PLOS One (Public Library of Science) in 2009, Aanensen and colleagues describe how spatially explicit field data can be submitted via mobile phone to a common web database.

Data from the web database can be retrieved and displayed on the mobile phone, again using Google Maps. What is so cool about this application is that data filtering options allow the display of data submitted by the individual field workers or, for example, those data within certain values of a measured variable or a time period.

The authors demonstrate the utility of this application for epidemiological data collection. They also discuss the potential application in ecology and yes, the possibility to enlist an army of “citizen scientists”. I can think of applications in syndromic surveillance for soil health assessments,assessments of climate change impacts and adaptation as well as monitoring pollutants and deforestation.

How about Crowdsourcing scientific data? This reminds me of Ushahidi, see http://www.ushahidi.com/

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