GeoWorld June 2012

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BY MAGED N. KAMEL BOULOS Crowdmaps Visualize User-Reported Data to building a database of all the Automated External Defibrillators in a major city ( News_Releases/2011/12/myheartmap-challenge) to protest movements, political activism and citizen journalism, as witnessed in the 2011/2012 "Occupy Movement" and "Arab Spring" events. A comprehensive review of the main technologies C 22 and standards involved in this domain was published in the International Journal of Health Geographics in December 2011 ( This article, however, focuses on the use of "crowd- maps" for visualizing crowdsourced data. GEO W ORLD / JUNE 2O12 rowd-sensing and citizen reporting of incidents are becoming increasingly common, with applications ranging from air-quality monitoring Crowd-generated reports and other material often produce Big Data: large, continuous streams of data that pose major challenges when trying to visualize, understand and make sense of them, particularly when attempting to do so in real time. This article presents several examples of crowdmaps, covering a diverse range of topics in which the spatiotemporal distribution (and content) of the corresponding crowd- sourced data are displayed on a familiar, interactive (geographic) map interface. For readers interested in building their own crowd- sourced maps, three dedicated crowdmapping tech- nologies will be examined: Esri PollMap tool, Pachube (pronounced "patch bay") mapping tools and the Ushahidi/Crowdmap platform. Real-Time Information

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