Crowdsourcing from another angle

Back on August 7th, we posted an interview with David Alan Grier about his crowdsourcing projects.

Last week, science writers at the New York Times published an article about crowdsourcing….and birds.

There is a new global project out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology called eBird. With the help of what researchers call “biological sensors,” this project aims to chart the movements of birds. All across the world, volunteers conduct daily observational readings of bird populations. These recordings are transferred into a larger data system and fed into maps and other data visualizations. In effect, the researchers are using the a large crowd to collect small pieces of data in order to formulate a large picture of trends.

In the past, readings focused on daily counts and stationary tools. This new method allows for daily dynamic observations across the globe.

This is an example of how you can use those around you to gather data.  The reserachers realized that they could no longer rely on stationary tools to gather bird data.  Birds are constantly in motion.

If you move beyond the stationary “sensors” (like your local colleagues), you can gain additional perspective and increasingly varied “readings.” In the end, your final result will be a fuller picture of the community and their behaviors.

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