Geo-Wiki Project

Geo-Wiki Project

The Geo-Wiki Project is a global network of volunteers who wish to help improve the quality of global land-cover maps. Because large differences occur between existing global land-cover maps, current ecosystem and land-use science lacks crucial accurate data (for example, to determine the potential of additional agricultural land available to grow crops in Africa).

Citizen scientists are asked to review hot spot maps of global land-cover disagreement and determine, based on what they actually see in Google Earth and their local knowledge, if the land-cover maps are correct or incorrect. Their input is recorded in a database, along with uploaded photos, to be used in the future for the creation of a new and improved global land-cover map.

The project works with a global network of volunteers to help classify land cover and improve satellite maps and data for research in climate, food security, and biofuels. The team has a number of related projects including a new mobile phone app, and a Facebook game, which function both as social networks and to provide data for the effort to improve land-cover data.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Steffen Fritz, Research Scholar
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Register for the Geo-Wiki Project.

    Participate in the "Hacking for Hunger" campaign.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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