Simon Willison’s Weblog


15 items tagged “crowdsourcing”


Trying to end the pandemic a little earlier with VaccinateCA

Visit Trying to end the pandemic a little earlier with VaccinateCA

This week I got involved with the VaccinateCA effort. We are trying to end the pandemic a little earlier, by building the most accurate database possible of vaccination locations and availability in California.

[... 1,154 words]

2019 (via) It’s pretty amazing how much you can build on free tiers these days—perfect for experimenting with side-projects. collects free SaaS tools for developers via pull request, and has had contributions from over 500 people.

# 26th December 2019, 10:03 am / crowdsourcing, tools


6M observations total! Where has iNaturalist grown in 80 days with 1 million new observations? Citizen science app iNaturalist is seeing explosive growth at the moment—they’ve been around for nearly a decade but 1/6 of the observations posted to the site were added in just the past few months. Having tried the latest version of their iPhone app it’s easy to see why: snap a photo of some nature and upload it to the app and it will use surprisingly effective machine learning to suggest the genus or even the individual species. Submit the observation and within a few minutes other iNaturalist community members will confirm the identification or suggest a correction. It’s brilliantly well executed and an utter delight to use.

# 28th January 2018, 8:18 pm / computervision, crowdsourcing, machine-learning, science, citizenscience, inaturalist


Color Survey Results. XKCD asked anonymous netizens to provide names for random colours. The results (collated from 222,500 user sessions that named over 5 million colours) are fascinating.

# 5th May 2010, 3:59 pm / crowdsourcing, science, xkcd, recovered, colours

WildlifeNearYou talk at £5 app, and being Wired (not Tired)

Two quick updates about WildlifeNearYou. First up, I gave a talk about the site at £5 app, my favourite Brighton evening event which celebrates side projects and the joy of Making Stuff. I talked about the site’s genesis on a fort, crowdsourcing photo ratings, how we use Freebase and DBpedia and how integrating with Flickr’s machine tags gave us a powerful location API for free. Here’s the video of the talk, courtesy of Ian Oszvald:

[... 171 words]

Help pick the best photos, but watch out, it’s addictive! My favourite WildlifeNearYou feature yet—our new tool asks you to pick the best from two photos, then uses the results to rank all of the photos for each species. It’s surprisingly addictive—we had over 5,000 votes in the first two hours, peaking at 4 or 5 votes a second. The feature seems to be staying nice and speedy thanks to Redis under the hood. Photos in the top three for any given species display a medal on their photo page.

# 25th January 2010, 12:36 am / crowdsourcing, photos, projects, redis, wildlifenearyou

WildlifeNearYou: Help identify animals in other people’s photos. The first of a number of crowdsourcing-style features we have planned for WildlifeNearYou—users can now help identify the animals in each other’s photos, and photo owners get a simple queue interface to approve or reject the suggestions.

# 15th January 2010, 1:35 am / crowdsourcing, projects, wildlifenearyou


Crowdsourced document analysis and MP expenses

Visit Crowdsourced document analysis and MP expenses

As you may have heard, the UK government released a fresh batch of MP expenses documents a week ago on Thursday. I spent that week working with a small team at Guardian HQ to prepare for the release. Here’s what we built:

[... 2,081 words]

Four crowdsourcing lessons from the Guardian’s (spectacular) expenses-scandal experiment. Michael Andersen from the Nieman Journalism Lab interviewed me about the MP expenses crowdsourcing site.

# 24th June 2009, 3:31 pm / crowdsourcing, guardian, interviews, mpsexpences

The breakneck race to build an application to crowdsource MPs’ expenses. Charles Arthur wrote up a very nice piece on the development effort behind the Guardian’s crowdsourcing expenses app.

# 19th June 2009, 10:16 pm / charles-aurthur, crowdsourcing, guardian, mpsexpenses

Investigate your MP’s expenses. Launched today, this is the project that has been keeping me ultra-busy for the past week—we’re crowdsourcing the analysis of the 700,000+ scanned MP expenses documents released this morning. It’s the Guardian’s first live Django-powered application, and also the first time we’ve hosted something on EC2.

# 18th June 2009, 11:16 pm / crowdsourcing, django, ec2, guardian, mpexpenses, projects, python

The Straight Choice | The election leaflet project. Nice crowdsourcing app by Richard Pope, Francis Irving and Julian Todd—UK political leaflets are hard to keep tabs on due to the way they are distributed over small geographical areas, so this site encourages you to take photos of leaflets delivered to your home and tag them with postcode, party and key topics.

# 8th June 2009, 4:23 pm / crowdsourcing, francisirving, julian-todd, politics, richardpope, thestraightchoice, ukpolitics

Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset 1.0. Another awesome Geo dataset from the Yahoo! stable—this time it’s Flickr releasing shapefiles (geometrical shapes) for hundreds of thousands of places around the world, under the CC0 license which makes them essentially public domain. The shapes themselves have been crowdsourced from geocoded photos uploaded to Flickr, where users can “correct” the textual location assigned to each photo. Combine this with the GeoPlanet WOE data and you get a huge, free dataset describing the human geography of the world.

# 22nd May 2009, 6:12 pm / creativecommons, crowdsourcing, flickr, geo, geoplanet, geospatial, maps, shapefiles, yahoo

ScenicOrNot. MySociety are crowdsourcing opinions on how “scenic” different parts of the UK are, by rating representative photos from Geograph.

# 12th May 2009, 1:32 pm / crowdsourcing, geograph, mysociety, scenicornot

Map Maker for Developers. Tiles from Google’s Map Maker crowdsourcing effort are now available in the JS and static maps APIs on an opt-in basis. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something here, but Google Map Maker seems like a big step backwards for open geographic data. People donate their mapping efforts to Google, who keep them—unlike OpenStreetMap, where the donated efforts are made available under a Creative Commons license.

# 21st February 2009, 9:05 am / creativecommons, crowdsourcing, google, googlemapmaker, google-maps-api, openstreetmap, staticmaps