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I am looking at collecting spatial information from a range of stakeholders to identify opportunities within a landscape. However, the data that we are collecting are not presently mapped and so we wish to use an interactive method to get this information onto a map.

Which online websites/methods would people recommend for circulating to a non-technical audience to try and get them to map what they know? Where the emphasis is on ease of use by the stakeholder.

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Apple Inc (iphone users) -,2817,2383971,00.asp - update of the iphone can disable it now. Apple were creating a based map? – Mapperz May 5 '11 at 14:05
I am looking at something similar. I am wondering if you have made progress. My work involves capturing bathymetric data to create contour maps. You can get an idea at I am interested in hearing more about your project. – user10557 Sep 27 '12 at 23:24
This should be a comment as you're not providing an answer. – Fezter Sep 28 '12 at 4:20
Welcome to our site, @Will! Please consult our faq for instructions on asking questions: you must start a new thread. – whuber Sep 28 '12 at 16:50

Here is one I know of and have used a few times.

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They also have a great system in place for organizing and collaboratively editing the data. – djq May 5 '11 at 21:54
They do. I actually use it to load holiday routes, bike rides, runs etc, as well as add local location data. It's quite good really. – Hairy May 6 '11 at 6:39
I'd also possibly suggest a trial version of a GIS to map the points, save the file, then you have no issues. MapInfo Pro is very easy for non GIS people to quickly use a GIS in creating points. – Hairy May 6 '11 at 11:10
Skip MapInfo, go with QGIS for open street map. Easy to use, free and has a open street map plugin for working with OSM data. – Nathan W May 28 '11 at 6:21

I think it would be useful to consider what might motivate the masses to participate.

While Greed and Fear are traditionally used to describe stock market behavior, I think it can be generalized to describe crowdsourcing. IMO a stockmarket is really a form of crowdsourcing - the crowd is used to determine the price of a share.

I've worked on crowdsourcing for a 911 emergency notification system. People fear not being notified in the event of a nearby emergency. I've never played it but I think greed might be the underlying motivation for participation in FourSquare.

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  • defines places in the simplest form (a box) and allows users to add information about the place. It has very widespread adoption (>1 million users) and is used by a none technical audience.
  • Wiki's. A lot of information in Wikipedia is linked to a particular geography through category's and special tags. It doesn't need to be a map to be spatial.
  • It is also possible via geoparsing to make a body of text spatial. Ask your users to provide information as text and then extract the spatial information.
  • Pen and Paper. Give stakeholders a map to print and ask them to mark up with a pen. Ask them to email a scan, or give a postal address.
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+1 for pen and paper. Sometimes we forget that such a simple solution can work for so many cases. – jvangeld May 5 '11 at 18:08
@jv I used to travel with a box of magic markers in my briefcase for just that purpose. I called it a "poor man's GIS." :-) It was extremely portable. – whuber May 6 '11 at 22:03

You can try the Ushahidi approach

enter image description here

We built the Ushahidi platform as a tool to easily crowdsource information using multiple channels, including SMS, email, Twitter and the web.

People can submit reports by:

  • Going to the web page
  • Sending an SMS
  • Using the Android app

It was originally intended as a tool for monitoring election related violence and suspicious activities. It has since been used in Haiti and other disasters.

Here's an example of an Ushahidi deployment

enter image description here

You should be able to adapt it to your purposes. Ushahidi only deals with point data though. If you need to deal with lines and polygons, you're out of luck.

Another option would be Localwiki.

enter image description here

It's a tool for collaborating in local, geographic communities. It has integrated support for mapping. Your users can delineate an area or trace a line on the map and then write what they know about it on a wiki page.

Every feature of a local wiki involves a place: where news events happen, where sites are found, where neighborhood boundaries are, and how to get from point A to point B.

share|improve this answer is another website which allows non technical users to add information about people and places.

It has some very unconventional categories like blood donors, domestic help, doctors, beggar homes, orphanages, etc

The idea to contribute to society by volunteering as blood donors was what motivated me to join There were no gamification in this website nor any kind of rewards. Just personal satisfaction.

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