Proliferating Applications of Crowdsourcing October 2018
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Individuals using smartphones and driving cars represent a resource that organizations can tap into to develop databases or to create other innovative resources. Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota, Japan) is planning to use the cameras and radar in its new cars to gather onboard data on a large scale for use in designing features that improve safety. The company will collect detailed information about streets and infrastructure as drivers go about their daily travel, giving it a very cost-effective way to map areas in which it may eventually operate autonomous vehicles. Niantic (San Francisco, California), developer of augmented-reality (AR) mobile game Pokémon Go, proposes using players' smartphones to collect and process camera data to create AR maps of locations. Although the company has revealed few details about its mapping plans, software will likely generate maps "by automatically identifying contours and objects" in public areas where people use their smartphone cameras to play Pokémon Go. In this way, the company will build maps of locations around the world, and it envisages third-party developers' accessing the database for their own use. Because both Toyota and Niantic have millions of customers worldwide, their data-collection potential is huge; however, issues of privacy and data rights are bound to create hurdles as organizations explore ways to use data they collect from individuals.
Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (Madrid, Spain)—the national association that administers Spain's two professional soccer leagues—recently updated its official app for Google's (Alphabet; Mountain View, California) Android operating system, enabling it to try to identify public venues that broadcast matches without a license. With users' permission, the app records audio and location data during matches to check for infringements, making users passive participants in enforcing licensing agreements. In contrast, an innovative project to crowdsource information by the Forensic Architecture research agency at Goldsmiths, University of London (London, England), requires individuals to play an active role in sharing their data. The agency is asking people to submit their smartphone footage of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in West London and aims to employ the footage and eyewitness testimonies in producing a 3D model for use in analyzing the fire and its aftermath.