The power of collective research, task-based investigations and swarm intelligence

You will be presented with 5 images. The task is to indicate any satellite images which contain any foreign objects in the water that may resemble Jim’s sailboat or parts of a boat. Jim’s sailboat will show up as a regular object with sharp edges, white or nearly white, about 10 pixels long and 4 pixels wide in the image. If in doubt, be conservative and mark the image. Marked images will be sent to a team of specialists who will determine if they contain information on the whereabouts of Jim Gray. Friends and family of Jim Gray would like to thank you for helping them with this cause. #

It’s conceivable that the most important thing social media has accomplished over the last 3-5 years is that it has unlocked the natural desire people have to impact what’s happening in the world in a way they may not have felt empowered to do for decades. #


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Tenacious SearchSince January 28, the San Francisco police, the Coast Guard and Jim’s friends and family have conducted an extensive search to find him and his sailboat, Tenacious, off the California coast. I want to summarize the status of that search here, so that the broad volunteer community that’s done so much knows where we stand. #

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Crisis mapping brings online tool to Haitian disaster relief effortPatrick Meier learned about the earthquakes at 7 p.m. Tuesday while he was watching the news in Boston. By 7:20, he’d contacted a colleague in Atlanta. By 7:40, the two were mobilizing an online tool created by a Kenyan lawyer in South Africa. By 8, they were gathering intelligence from everyplace,… #

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The Brian Lehrer Show – Are You Being Gouged?Our latest “crowdsourcing” project asks listeners to go to their local grocery store and find out the price of three goods: milk, lettuce and beer. You don’t have to buy them (or consume them), but we want to know how much they cost in different neighborhoods throughout the New York area. #

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Investigate your MP’s expensesWe have 458,832 pages of documents. 33,105 of you have reviewed 226,139 of them. Only 232,693 to go… Start reviewing Please read our privacy policy to find out how we use your data. You must also read our terms of service. #

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Privately owned public space: where are they and who owns them?We’re in the middle of a creeping privatisation of public space. Streets and open spaces are being defined as private land after redevelopment. It began with Canary Wharf but is now a standard feature of urban regeneration. In future, one of the biggest public squares in Europe – Granary square, in the new development around Kings Cross – will be privately owned. #

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Broadband Britain: how fast is your connection?With your help, the Guardian is creating an up-to-date broadband map of Britain, showing advertised versus real speeds. We want to highlight the best and worst-served communities, and bring attention to the broadband blackspots. #

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Tracking the trackers: help us reveal the unseen world of cookiesCookies and other web trackers monitor our online behaviour and store our browsing habits, but who are the companies behind them and what are they doing with our data? We have teamed up with Mozilla to try to find out. #

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GuttenPlag WikiAchtung: Dies sind keine Initiativen von GuttenPlag Dies ist eine kollaborative Dokumentation der Plagiate – jeder ist eingeladen, hier mitzuarbeiten. Ergänzungen und Änderungen in diesem Wiki sind transparent und jederzeit nachvollziehbar. Jede Bearbeitung wird protokolliert. Siehe: Letzte Änderungen (ohne Diskussionsbeiträge) Guttenbergs Dissertation und die Plagiatsvorwürfe wurden seit dem 16. #

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ProPublica’s Super Bowl Blitz: Which Congressmen Are Getting Super Bowl Perks?Carson, André (D)(202) 225-4011 7th IN Don’t call [ Sebastian Jones, ProPublica ] Don’t call [ Sebastian Jones, ProPublica ] Awaiting reply [ Kathleen McLaughlin, Indianapolis Business Journal | Congressional staff Glendal Jones, press secretary, Feb 3, 2010 ] Delahunt, Bill (D)(202) 225-3111 10th MA Staff doesn’t know. #

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I Paid a Bribe | Uncover the market price of corruption in Indiaipaidabribe: Share your story on bribes and corruption. Read latest news on corruption in Indian bureaucracy and civic agencies. Read corruption and bribery related stories from all over India #

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Deepwater Oil Reporter Crowdsourcing PlatformHere are a few things we think you need to know before joining this open data sharing initiative. Please read before you proceed. Know that all data reported on Oil Reporter is PUBLIC. If you don’t want to share information with the public, Oil Reporter isn’t for you. #

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Girl Turk: Mechanical Turk Meets Girl Talk’s “Feed the Animals” – Waxy.orgGirl Talk’s Feed the Animals is one of my favorite albums this year, a hyperactive mish-mash sampling hundreds of songs from the last 45 years of popular music. Gregg Gillis created a beautiful, illegal mess of copyright clearance hell, which you should download immediately. #

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HuffPost Launches OffTheBus Citizen Journalism Project Ahead of 2012 ElectionsWASHINGTON — If you are like most people, you don’t much like the way the “national media” cover politics. As a long-time member of the Washington press corps, I agree with you. We can be trivial, shortsighted, credulous, ideologically blinkered and timid — on a good day. #

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Netflix Prize: HomeThe Netflix Prize sought to substantially improve the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences. On September 21, 2009 we awarded the $1M Grand Prize to team “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos”. Read about their algorithm, checkout team scores on the Leaderboard, and join the discussions on the Forum. #

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HerdictWeb : AboutAbout Us Herdict is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Herdict is a portmanteau of ‘herd’ and ‘verdict’ and seeks to show the verdict of the users (the herd). Herdict Web seeks to gain insight into what users around the world are experiencing in terms of web accessibility; or in other words, determine the herdict. #

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The High Price of Creating Free Ads – New York TimesFrom an advertiser’s perspective, it sounds so easy: invite the public to create commercials for your brand, hold a contest to pick the best one and sit back while average Americans do the creative work. But look at the videos H. J. Heinz is getting on YouTube. #

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SpotCrime Crime MapArrest Arson Assault Burglary Robbery Shooting Theft Vandalism Other Loading Crime Data… City and county crime map showing crime incident data down to neighborhood crime activity. Subscribe for crime alerts and reports. #

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The Peer to Patent Project – Community Patent ReviewThe Community Patent Review: Peer to Patent project On June 15, 2007, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) opened the patent examination process for online public participation for the first time. #

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Prize4LifeOur mission is to accelerate the discovery of treatments and a cure for ALS by using powerful incentives to attract new people and drive innovation. We know that the solutions to some of the biggest challenges in ALS research will require out-of-the-box thinking, and some of the most critical discoveries may come from unlikely places. #

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FixMyStreetHow to report a problem Enter a nearby GB postcode, or street name and area Locate the problem on a map of the area Enter details of the problem We send it to the council on your behalf 1,616 reports in past week 2,529 fixed in past month 204,852 updates on reports #

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Reporting Recipe: Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk for Data ProjectsOf all of journalism’s recent evolutions, data-driven reporting is one of the most celebrated. But as much as we should toast data’s powers, we must acknowledge its cost: Assembling even a small dataset can require hours of tedious work, deterring even the most disciplined of journalists and their editors. #

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HuffPost’s OffTheBus Superdelegate InvestigationWe asked HuffPost readers to join with us and profile the hundreds of superdelegates who are likely to decide the Democratic nomination for president. Hundreds of you responded and we can now present our initial findings. Just click on a state or territory and a list of superdelegate profiles, as compiled by our citizen journalists, will pop up. #

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The Political Campaign HQ Next Door: OffTheBus Special Ops PhotographsWhere are the state campaign headquarters located, exactly, for the party that claims to represent Main Street? Where are they located for the party that claims to represent everyone? Thanks to the work of HuffPost OffTheBus Special Ops, you can visit offices around the nation in just a few key strokes. #

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Introducing Stimulus Spot CheckJuly 20, 2009: This post has been corrected. It’s the middle of July and we’re all wondering whether the stimulus is working. If we do as the administration has advised, we should remain patient – and let the administration measure its own success. #

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WNYC – Mapping the Storm Clean-upWe’ve been asking readers and listeners to let us know if their streets have been plowed. Here are maps from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (white balloons represent unplowed streets, blue plowed). Click the balloons for full information and voice messages where available. Submit yours by texting PLOW to 30644. #

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How Do You Feel About the Economy? – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.comEnter the word that best describes your current mood. You can submit a response once a day. #

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Adjunct ProjectThe Project The Adjunct Project exists for the growing number of graduate degree holders who are unemployed and underemployed. Many of these highly educated and passionate people are being forced to take jobs dramatically below their achievement and earning potential. #

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The Scrapbook – POPS Report: Tell Us About New York City’s Privately-Owned Public SpacesListen: Project Intro from October 19th // Listen: Wrap-Up from November 9th // WNYC’s Brian Leher Show and The New York World are collaborating on a project to map and report on New York City’s Privately-Owned Public Spaces, aka POPS. We want to figure out how public these public spaces really are. #

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5 thoughts on “The power of collective research, task-based investigations and swarm intelligence

  1. Pingback: A future history of crowdsourced reporting | Ryan Sholin

  2. Pingback: A importância da colaboração dos leitores : Ponto Media

  3. Andrew Haeg

    A notable omission here is the Public Insight Network, a crowd-sourcing platform used by 70 newsrooms in the U.S and one in South Africa. We’re nearly ten years old, but still get left off of lists like this — I think largely because we’re not an “open” project that anyone can check out & play with, which is actually in some ways why it works so well: It’s a private backchannel for journalists to tap into a very large source network (165,000 sources and growing fast). More here : http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org, or ping me at ahaeg [at] americanpublicmedia.org.

  4. Matt McAlister Post author

    Thanks, Andrew. Fascinating. There are lots of interesting tools and networks that can help people accomplish a distributed group-based investigation, but for this post I’m particularly looking for the interesting investigations themselves rather than the spaces where they happen. Can you point me to any specific task-based investigations performed by the Public Insight Network?

  5. Pingback: A importância da colaboração dos leitores |

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