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GISCorps assists on United Nations GeoTag-X project

The United Nations imagery analysis program (UNITAR-UNOSAT) is underwriting a new crowdsource platform called GeoTag-X for analyzing photos and videos. The GeoTag-X platform was built and is being tested by the Citizen Cyberlab, a European Union Information and Communication Technology Consortium of seven partners.

GeoTag-X is a research project that will assess whether crowdsource volunteers can recognize the important information in photos of a humanitarian crisis and create relevant, structured datasets that can be used by those working on the ground in the humanitarian response. The goal of the research project is to test if GeoTag-X could be a useful tool in an operational context.

GeoTag-X is being tested via a series of pilot projects covering different disaster related events. In July 2015, GISCorps, along with the non-profit organization Humanity Road, participated in a ‘data sprint’ to test GeoTag-X in two real-world situations: identifying livestock and crop conditions resulting from a drought in Somalia; and geotagging emergency shelters in the Middle East, and evaluating their readiness for winter.

During the sprint, a total of 84 volunteers evaluated more than 7,000 photos. The volunteers worked so hard that on Friday, July 3th, two days before the event was scheduled to end, both the Winter Shelter and the Condition of Animals and Livestock projects were completed, it was  decided to increase the number of responses per photo, meaning it was possible to collect much more data than initially planned.

The volunteers also provided lots of constructive feedback about the website usability and technical issues. Accordingly, the GeoTag-X team is now working hard on changes that will lead to a more effective and friendlier user experience. Some of these changes are already effective including a new zoom button to enlarge or reduce every image, as well as an error message to help catch an annoying bug on the submit response page.

The folks at Citizen Cyberlab are really thankful to everyone that has been involved in the project during this event, and who worked with such a great commitment. Due to the success of the event, during the next months they will continue to improve the website and will sponsor additional GeoTag-X testing events.