3 Ways Nepalis Are Using Crowdsourcing to Aid in Quake Relief

Describes 3 examples of ways crowdsourcing helped after the major quake in Nepal last year.

In the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit their country over the weekend, many Nepalis at home and abroad have found a new way to help — as digital volunteers, spending hours hunched over their laptops, using crowdsourcing technologies and social platforms to participate in the relief effort.

More at New York Times.
(Contributor: Jessica Lee)

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3 Ways Nepalis Are Using Crowdsourcing to Aid in Quake Relief

Wikipedia is developing a crowdsourced speech engine

Wikipedia announced on Thursday that it is collaborating with researchers from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology to develop an open, crowdsourced speech engine that will make the online encyclopedia more accessible to people with reading or visual impairments. Wikipedia estimates that 25 percent of its user base — approximately 125 million people monthly — will benefit from the new service. And while the engine will be optimized for use on Wikipedia itself, any site running MediaWiki software will be able to integrate it as well.

 

Sadly,

“Initially, our focus will be on the Swedish language, where we will make use of our own language resources,” KTH speech technology professor Joakim Gustafson, said in a statement.

More at Engadget.
(Contributor: Jessica Lee)

Wikipedia is developing a crowdsourced speech engine

New flu tracker uses Google search data better than Google

Outgoogling Google on flu:

With big data comes big noise. Google learned this lesson the hard way with its now kaput Google Flu Trends. The online tracker, which used Internet search data to predict real-life flu outbreaks, emerged amid fanfare in 2008. Then it met a quiet death this August after repeatedly coughing up bad estimates.

But big Internet data isn’t out of the disease tracking scene yet.

With hubris firmly in check, a team of Harvard researchers have come up with a way to tame the unruly data, combine it with other data sets, and continually calibrate it to track flu outbreaks with less error. Their new model, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, out-performs Google Flu Trends and other models with at least double the accuracy. If the model holds up in coming flu seasons, it could reinstate some optimism in using big data to monitor disease and herald a wave of more accurate second-generation models.

More at ArsTechnica.
(Contributor: Natch Ruengsakulrach)

New flu tracker uses Google search data better than Google

Documenting street food carts in India

A google doc for cataloging street food carts in India.

These are old style establishments and therefore don’t have an address, they can’t be found on apps like Yelp or Zomato. The problem this solves is, because these establishments don’t really do any marketing or advertisements, they are hard to discover.

Sometimes simple solutions are the best: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r0TExc9AxJmI9sGDHV4Ufjm77yy2RVoxQaYKpIBjBNk.
(Contributor: Chethan Krishna Nagaraja Rao)

Documenting street food carts in India

Sunshine, A Crowd-Sourced Weather App, Goes Live

Crowdsourcing the weather experience via your phone:

When it comes to the weather, there is no lack of applications to choose from to get your information. But there is very little diversity when it comes to those apps.

A new startup, called Sunshine, is looking to change all that. Using information delivered from the barometer sensor in the phone, as well as user-generated reports of local weather, the app is trying to change the way we consume information about the day’s weather.

More at TechCrunch.
(Contributor: Chethan Krishna Nagaraja Rao)

Sunshine, A Crowd-Sourced Weather App, Goes Live

Feederwatch

One example of human computation in citizen science is Feederwatch, here at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology.

Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

More at the Feederwatch website.
(Contributor: Andrew Mullen)

Feederwatch

Human Computation May Be Key to Solving World’s Wicked Problems

An article about a thought piece that appeared in Science on using human computation in citizen science:

Combining human and computer intelligence could help solve the world’s most vexing problems, researchers envisioned in an article published Monday in the journal Science.

It refers to examples we’ve discussed in class, such as FoldIt.

More at TechNewsWorld.
(Contributor: Andrew Mullen)

Human Computation May Be Key to Solving World’s Wicked Problems