Crowdsourcing supported by social media applications has emerged as a low-cost approach to generate data by enlisting or encouraging citizens to participate in data collection and verification. One of the key benefits is that it can provide information for rural locations that agencies cannot monitor regularly, due to reduced funding or low numbers of staff.
The following considerations should be made when developing and deploying crowdsourced data applications:
- Use a free source or application to gather crowdsourced data before creating a custom application.
- Account for staffing costs to process and verify public-provided data for accuracy.
- Train citizens on what should be reported and how (for example reliable traveler information on road and traffic conditions and weather events)
- Provide users with limited reporting capabilities until they have proven their ability to provide accurate information.
- Assess the quantity of the crowdsourced data and the method for validating the data (with staff, cameras, number of similar reports).