Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ideas About Crowdsourcing's Future

From the very beginning of efforts to create crowdsourced geospatial data (e.g. OpenStreetMap), there have been doubts about accuracy, and consequently, value. Nowhere is that more true than in the realm of emergency preparedness and response. In keeping with that thought, a recent online article offered some interesting thoughts about where crowdsourcing efforts are headed, and what the Emergency Services Sector and others need to do to participate.  More, below:

Is All Crowdsourced Data Valid for the Geospatial Sector? (Sensors and Systems, September 24, 2012)

Comment: I would not have offered this article for your consideration if I didn't think it made some excellent points.  However, my thinking is considerably divergent from that of the author when it comes to the current use of crowdsourced data at FEMA. Although Administrator Fugate and staff have made considerable progress in implementing new technologies in some areas of the agency (eCAPS, anyone?), I'm personally not aware of any "crowdsourcing" measures that have been put in place other than those used to broadcast out information using social media. That's a one way street. Crowdsourcing is about a web-based, multi-directional exchange of information which provides crowd awareness to those who need it. And according to a FEMA commissioned Strategic Foresight Initiative paper, Universal Access to and Use of Information, the entire Emergency Management community in the United States has a some work to do before the power of crowdsourcing and other emerging technologies have been appropriately leveraged.

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