01 October 2018 - 05 October 2018
Delft, The Netherlands

Demonstrating the Power of the Crowd

IIASA researcher presents recent work on the value of citizen science and crowdsourcing for humanitarian and social applications

IIASA Research Scholar and ISPRS member, Linda See, will participate in this year’s ISPRS Technical Commission IV Symposium, which brings together all ISPRS working groups to present state-of-the-art research in geospatial sciences and remote sensing. See will present the latest research on citizen science and crowdsourcing from the Center for Earth Observation and Citizen Science at IIASA. This work demonstrates the value of citizen science and crowdsourcing for providing humanitarian and urban climate and energy information.

See will first present a paper describing the use of the Picture Pile tool for rapid image assessment of building damage after Hurricane Matthew (Danylo et al. 2018). Working with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), IIASA researchers obtained satellite images from the time that Hurricane Matthew occurred, and ran a crowdsourcing campaign to simulate the situation post-event. In just one week, a high quality crowdsourced map of damaged buildings was produced, demonstrating the utility of tools such as Picture Pile for humanitarian purposes.

The second paper to be presented (Fonte et al. 2018) focuses on the use of existing sources of crowdsourced data, i.e. OpenStreetMap, Facebook and Foursquare, to derive information about buildings, in particular building function. These types of data are rarely available, yet have many potential applications, such as determining urban energy demand, evaluating contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, and providing inputs to urban climate and energy balance modelling. The approach developed with researchers at Coimbra University and the Politecnico di Milano was demonstrated using an area within the city of Milan. The results showed that it was possible to classify more than 80% of the buildings by function using a combination of these data sources, highlighting the potential value of crowdsourced data for this application.

The ISPRS Technical Commission IV Symposium will take place in Delft, the Netherlands, from 1-5 October 2018 as part of the joint GEO Delft Conferences 2018. This session will be held within the ISPRS Working Group IV/4 on Collaborative Crowdsourced Cloud Mapping, which focuses on many aspects of crowdsourced data including humanitarian and social applications. The conference as a whole will also provide opportunities to learn about the latest developments in crowdsourcing and geospatial sciences, which will undoubtedly benefit ongoing research at IIASA. 

Conference papers to be presented

Danylo, O., Moorthy, I., Sturn, T., *See, L., Laso Bayas, J.-C., Domian, D., Fraisl, D., Giovando, C., Girardot, B., Kapur, R., Matthieu, P.-P., Fritz, S. 2018. The Picture Pile tool for rapid image assessment: A demonstration using Hurricane Matthew. ISPRS Technical Commission IV Symposium, Delft, 1-5 October, 2018.

Fonte, C.C., Minghini, M., Antoniou, V., Patriarca, J. and See, L. 2018. Classification of building function using available sources of VGI. ISPRS Technical Commission IV Symposium, Delft, 1-5 October, 2018.

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Last edited: 25 September 2018


Linda See

Senior Research Scholar Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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