Need Data? Why not ask the crowd?

by Dave Barter on

Crowdsourcing has become common practise in many areas often by stealth. Take digital mapping, how are Google/Apple continuously improving the accuracy and richness of their map data? I'll tell you, by seeking it from the crowd. Sometimes by stealth, other times quite blatantly by asking you to rate or add information to a place you've recently visited. It's not hard to think of many applications where crowdsourcing is a fantastic model for quickly building up a new data set.

  • Want to know where all the best coffee shops are?
  • Interested in ideas for improving street furniture?
  • Eager to gather data on paranormal sightings? (Sorry but I've beaten you to it)
  • Needing a data set of rare animal sightings?
  • Looking for opinions on where a boundary really lies?
  • Need inspiration on where to hold a gathering of friends?
  • Keen to understand any inaccuracies in your published map?

Why not ask the crowd?

Maps lend themselves particularly well to crowdsourcing as the data we are after almost always has a location based aspect. Furthermore individuals engage well when asked about the areas within which they have familiarity. With maps crowdsourcing can become very simple. Show your users the area you are interested in. Tell them what you are after. Ask them to point and click. Job done.

But crowdsourcing also has its problems. We need to carefully filter and check data received, how can we be sure of its accuracy as it was given to us by a complete stranger. We need to prevent duplication and tell our crowdsourcers what we already know. And unfortunately we need to protect ourselves from abuse as the public can not always be relied upon to be couth or share our own moral compass.

So if we had a simple engine that worked with maps and allowed us to quickly set up and manage crowdsourcing campaigns then life would be great and we could enrich ourselves with lots of new data provided by a legion of strangers. Imagine how much better this would be if the service were free? We could crowdsource to our heart's content and not pay a penny for it?

You know what I'm going to say next now don't you?

Hello! Introducing Geovey, our lovely little crowdsourcing engine that doesn't cost a bean. And YES it really is properly FREE and I mean free as in the no money, no restrictions and no invasive-spam-urging-you-to-upgrade free. We've got rid of all of the annoying stuff and are pursuing a new business model I'm calling "matesware". It works like this. We create something that's useful, and free, you use it and thus see us as mates. When you want something that isn't Geovey, but is close, you'll ask your mates if they can do it and they'll invariably say "yes". It's as simple and honest as that, we've created Geovey because we can and we want to show you what we can do. So please feel free to use it how you wish and we'll promise not to bother you while you're at it.

So enough of the non-sales pitch, let's give you a quick tour of what Geovey allows you to achieve for all of this lovely freeness.


Yes, you can ask the public for anything as long as it's relatively decent and not deemed offensive. Geovey is there for everyone from amateur historians looking for local history to large park management authorities after ideas to improve their infrastructure. As long as it requires a map and a relatively straightforward question then Geovey is there to help you find the answers.

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Geovey allows you to create your own map based microsite in a few clicks. You can narrow the map down to a specific area, add markers and simple drawings to it and then you're ready to go.


We've connected Geovey to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN making it one-click-simple to share your crowdsourcing exercise with the social networks. This is how you get traction from the public. Create a compelling quest for your users and share it via the social networks then let electronic word-of-mouth do all the rest.


Sometimes you need to prompt people when they are already at the location you are interested in. We've thought of that and added a QR code generator to Geovey. You can use these codes on posters, leaflets, signposts, noticeboards or even on the back of your jacket if you like. One scan from a mobile phone and the user is taken directly to your crowdsourcing campaign.

You can attach multiple QR codes to a campaign and track each and every one of them. This allows you to place codes in various locations and see which ones are the most effective.


Geovey allows both you and your users to moderate the content added to your map. Anyone can flag a contribution as inappropriate and we've also embedded image processing designed to block any uploaded photographs that do not belong in the public view.


Geovey's crowdsourcing engine makes you a spreadsheet full of all your lovely crowdsourced data. You can download it at any point and it's easy to import into other systems. We give you all of the information added to the map and the associated co-ordinates as well. Plenty to allow you to build your own maps, conclusions, campaigns, business case, research paper or local history walk ...whatever you decide you're going to do with your data.

But if you want us to help you turn this into something a little more special. Just shout, we're pretty good at building interactive maps


Honest! it really is free. We promise that it will stay that way and we also promise we'll leave you alone to crowdsource in peace. All we ask is that you think of us when you develop you're grand master plan for world domination. We're really good at maps and it would be great to add more to Geovey as it grows. We need your business to do that.

This link will get you started. Trust me you'll have a campaign ready in minutes ready to share and gather the data you need.

Need Data? Why not ask the crowd?

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