With the enormous amounts of data becoming available on a daily basis it only makes sense to take advantage of a way to utilize this information. By collecting data from people that requires very little from them it can in turn have a very substantial impact and an increasing amount of possibilities. Our objective today will be understanding how Crowdsourcing and Crowdmapping are being used today to compile information.


  • General Tech. Review
  • Homework Review
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Crowdmapping
  • Homework


  • What is it?
    • Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. Crowdsourcing can take place on many different levels and across various industries. Thanks to our growing connectivity, it is now easier than ever for individuals to collectively contribute — whether with ideas, time, expertise, or funds — to a project or cause. This collective mobilization is crowdsourcing.
      • In other words using people as a way collecting data

  • How Crowdsourcing is being used
    • Crowdsourcing touches across all social and business interactions. It is changing the way we work, hire, research, make and market. Governments are applying crowdsourcing to empower citizens and give a greater voice to the people. In science and health care, crowdsourcing can democratize problem solving and accelerate innovation. With education, it has the potential to revolutionize the system, just as crowdfunding is currently challenging traditional banking and investing processes. It’s a 21st-century mindset and approach that can be applied in many areas and many ways to:
      • Accelerate Innovation
      • Share Ideas
      • Co-create
      • Engage consumers or citizens
      • Increase Efficiency

Here’s an example of Crowdsourcing is making driving more effecient


Above we are starting to see the beginning of the transition if crowdsourcing to geospatial realm. By bringing together information compiled by people on their daily commutes of by sending in information on road blocks we get a more efficient way to for everyone to reach their destinations. Take notice that the basemap is an openstreet map. This is an example of a Crowdmap.


  • What is crowdmapping
    • Crowdmapping is the aggregation of crowd-generated inputs such as text messages and social media feeds with geographic data to provide real-time, interactive information on events such as wars, humanitarian crises, crime, elections, or natural disasters. 
      • This is a general assumption that it is only used in crises, but as we see above it can be used in multiple ways.
  • How are Crowdmaps being utilized in Social Justice
    • Crowdmapping first came to international attention through its successful use in the global disaster relief movement, where online maps have been used to address challenges ranging from tracking the availability of medical supplies in Kenya and Uganda to coordination of disaster response in Haiti.

How Journalists are taking advantage of Crowdmaps

Journalism is just one way of using the information collected there are plenty of others. For example in the Haiti Crisis this information was used by the emergency responders to help locate people.




Libyan Crisis Map mentioned in video (Example of Ushahidi… What’s that?!)


Glad you asked. One of the biggest names that has received international recognition multiple times is the platform called Ushahidi.  Ushahidi (Swahili for “testimony” or “witness”) created a website in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election that collected eyewitness reports of violence reported by email and text message and placed them on a Google Maps.

The organisation uses the concept of crowdsourcing for social activism and public accountability, serving as an initial model for what has been coined as “activist mapping”—the combination of social activism, citizen journalism and geospatial information.

  • Examples of Ushahidi
    • Louisiana Bucket Brigade Map
      • Environmental concern map of the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill in 2010
    • Harassmap
      • Map of incidents of harassment in Egypt
    • Safecity
      • Very similar to Harassmap, used in India
    • Community Monitors South Africa Crowdmap
      • Dealing with Corporate Social Responsibility of mining companies and local government
    • Ushahidi is one of the best examples of utilizing peoples ability to access the internet and help you get the information you need  for social justice issues on a large scale. At the end of the day it is only a tool, so it is very important to know what you’re using the tool for. It is also not the only tool.

Examples of other maps using crowdsourcing for maps


Today’s homework is very straightforward. A 3 paragraph write-up on any crowdmap of your choice (It does not have to be on this list). In your paper answer these questions:

  1. What were the map creators trying to show us?
  2. Is the way they arranged the crowdmap conducive to what they were attempted to show? Why or why not?
  3. Who could use the information on their map (Journalists, Police, EMS… etc). How?