Plotting our funded projects on a map – Can we crowdsource a solution?
Here at BIG we are developing a new version of our main website. A major new feature will be a map based search of the grants we’ve awarded. This will replace the current grants search with its admittedly clunky user interface. At this stage we imagine it might be similar to this homemade Ofsted school ratings website.
The challenge we have is that a percentage of our awards are attributed to the postcode from where the application came. In some cases this is not the same location as where the project takes place or beneficiaries of it are. Our Chief Executive, Peter Wanless has blogged about how this affects statistics about Lottery where funding goes.
Following some of our thinking around People Powered Change in England we recognise that so much can be achieved by sharing and seeking ideas and inputs from others who are working in this area. So an idea is to crowdsource the correct data. That’s where you come in. On the grants search section of our new website we’ll give users the ability to confirm or correct the location of each BIG funded project.
The full details have yet to be worked out but our initial thinking is:
- If someone tells us that the location we have for a project is incorrect and provides a new one, we’d trust that and update the website accordingly. While this may seem risky we consider that:
- there’s little reason for anyone to deliberately submit inaccurate data
- we can get users to put their (login) name to the submission and a CAPTCHA to prevent spambots etc.
- we can enable users to report a problem with the data as an alternative to submitting a new location
- we can keep the original data and revert to it if necessary
- we may be able to target grant holders with an email request for them to review the details of their grants.
- If a second person says that the location provided by a previous user is wrong then we can be alerted and investigate to establish the truth.
- A way for people to confirm the accuracy of the data would also be useful too so we can start establishing a level of confidence in it.
- The addresses of individuals and sensitive projects will be protected.
Here’s an example of something similar. Location data of post boxes was obtained under Freedom of Information. The accuracy of the data was then fixed by crowdsourcing. As a result a mobile app for finding your nearest post box has been developed using this data.
We believe that this approach will help build understanding and transparency about where our funding goes and also paves the way for us to make the data publicly available so it can be used by others in new, interesting ways, perhaps combined with other datasets.
We’d really like to hear from people who have experience of crowdsourcing like this to help us get it right. If you know of any good examples or sources of advice on crowdsourcing please post them below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are however definitely not looking for consultancy or development agencies so no sales pitches please. Just genuine thoughts, comments and reflections from those that have an interest or may be trying to do this already themselves. Overly commercial comments will be deleted.