USAID uses data.gov for crowdsourcing
The U.S. Agency for International Development turned to crowdsourcing to fill missing data gaps it uncovered while trying to map where its development credit authority loans were being issued. After considering several platforms, the agency found a surprising crowdsourcing solution in data.gov, said Stephanie Grosser, presidential management fellow at USAID, during a June 28 event, hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
"People in the government have only used data.gov to open and release data. It's never been used as an interactive platform to actually crowdsource," said Grosser.
"We realized that pretty easily we could manipulate the platform to be interactive and to be used for crowdsourcing. So, at no cost to the agency we were able to do that," she added.
While the data set was open to anyone, USAID wanted a traceable record of who was altering the data, to ensure accountability and accuracy.
The agency used a Google Doc with instructions on how to help clean the data set, and users were required to digitally check a volunteer agreement to participate, said Grosser. Once a user said how many records he wanted to clean, only that specific data set would be accessible upon login to data.gov, she said.
Because USAID only allowed those with data.gov accounts to participate, it was easier for the agency to know who was altering the data, and ensure data quality, said Grosser.
For other agencies considering crowdsourcing, Shadrock Roberts, senior spatial analyst at USAID, suggests that they dedicate time to recruiting the right people to contribute.
"If you want to build these sorts of relationships and use the crowd you need to build these relationships and you need to build that capacity into your own organization," said Roberts. "It takes a project manager. It takes someone with dedicated time who understands how to reach back to these groups to really run this."
- go to the event page (includes archived webcast, audio and presentation slides)