Mapping with Crowdsourcing at EarthViews
We are fortunate at Esri to have a wide array of business partners that are helping us achieve a more sustainable and resilient planet. One of these business partners is EarthViews. EarthViews vision is to connect people to critically important aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. EarthViews works with land, water managers and others to help achieve this mission. To accomplish EarthViews’ vision, they have developed technology to bring waterways to the desktop, mobile or VR device via easy-to-use, publicly available, 360 interactive virtual tours. These reality based maps have many uses for waterway safety, recreation, science, and conservation. Mapping with crowdsourcing at EarthViews helps with the mission.
One of my favorite teaching tools is their EarthViews Atlas. I use these immersive videos and stills to help students understand how waterways in urban and rural areas are so critical to water quality and quantity, to ecosystem health, to human health and wellness, and to recreation. They are somewhat like “Google Street View” for waterways! Some are taken on the water, and some are even taken underwater! One of my favorites is the fascinating 360 degree views of the Okavango Basin in Angola, Namibia, and Botswana. My central message to students is that rivers, ponds, and lakes are not just expanses of blue depicted on maps! They have width, depth, chemistry, and many other characteristics that EarthViews helps us to understand.
I also frequently refer to EarthViews in my career presentations for students: (1) Be innovative! EarthViews found a need and created a company and a set of tools to meet that need. Consider doing the same for an area you see a need in! (2) Consider working for one of our business partners when you see openings. The Esri partner network includes people in just about every possible field, including natural resources, public safety, mapping, planning, health, business, city planning, transportation, and many more.
One of the educational and societal forces I and others frequently teach about is crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is possible via field apps such as Survey123, iNaturalist, and many others. Instructors have been using crowdsourcing with their students to generate data on invasive species, weather, soil chemistry, litter, graffiti, vegetation, vehicle and pedestrian counts, walkability (as I describe here), and many other phenomena. However, it is still sometimes challenging to find meaningful crowdsourcing activities for students and others that will actually be used over the long term by those outside one’s classroom. Once again, I turn to EarthViews for a wonderful opportunity. EarthViews has a crowdsourcing opportunity that you and your students could participate in. Yes, you and your students can help EarthViews create the immersive imagery that I described above in their atlas!
Join the EarthViews crowdmapping team and get the areas you care about published on EarthViews Atlas! Mapping by crowdsourcing is easy at EarthViews. They even have cameras and mapping gear to loan out to volunteers!
This blog post was written by Joseph Kerski GISP at esri and originally appeared here.