The massive shift in the increasing role of crowdsourcing across multiple industries, platforms, and approaches to integrating "Big Data" into the current standards of consuming media and reacting to crises presents both significant challenges and important opportunities. Yet rigorous, data-driven research necessary to shed insights on this revolution in information is lagging. The purpose of Internews’s new CrowdGlobe initiative is to encourage and facilitate empirical research on the nature and impact of crowdsourced data—particularly geo-referenced data.
CrowdGlobe is a platform agnostic, applied-research program that seeks to identify trends in both the use of crowd sourcing technologies and the data patterns generated by these new technologies. CrowdGlobe aims to produce in-depth reports on these trends and patterns. At a more theoretical level, CrowdGlobe offers an almost unparalleled opportunity to investigate the dynamics of digital information in political and policy processes.
As a first case study, the subject of this inaugural report, CrowdGlobe has analyzed both Ushahidi and Crowdmap data as well as its user base. The Ushahidi platform, which means, “witness” in Swahili, is a free and open source tool that integrates information collection features with a live map. Ushahidi, the company, subsequently launched Crowdmap, a hosted version of the Ushahidi platform, which is easier to use since downloading the software and installing it is not necessary. When the CrowdGlobe research project was launched in October 2011, a total of 12,795 Crowdmaps had been created in over 100 countries. This presented CrowdGlobe researchers with an ideal first use-case for the project. The aim of this first report is to develop a better understanding of how Crowdmap (and Ushahidi) have been used and to analyze the data they have generated over recent years.
To access our dataset, click here.