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Crowd Sourcing of Imagery

Mark Alonzo

A couple of years ago, builders unearthed a massive deposit of Mammoth’s and other long extinct mammals in Snowmass CO.  Citizens were able to volunteer to be part of the excavation and effort and as you can imagine grabbing a spot was difficult.  If you couldn’t flex your inner archaeologist in Snowmass, there are plenty of opportunities to do so with imagery.

According to Merriam-Webster, crowd sourcing is “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”  Over the past few years crowd sourcing has been used to help aide research on a variety of projects by opening up imagery for analysis by the citizens of the world.

National Geographic enlisted the crowds to help analyze GeoEye imagery over Mongolia in Field Expedition: Mongolia.  Citizen analysts learned how to interpret imagery and make finds which were then delivered back to the lead researchers.

A team of volunteers were also able to examine close to 4,000 Digital Globe images to aid in analysis efforts in Somalia.  Because the imagery was made available to a wide audience the analysis of those thousands of images of were completed in just five days.

Have you worked on any crowd sourcing image analysis projects or do you have ideas for projects that would be of value to the remote sensing community?

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