Citizens’ participation and crowdsourcing

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Primary Target Country
Publishing Organisation UNDRR
Language English
Year Published 2017
Target Audience Civil Society, Media, Policy Makers, Researchers
Status Published
Disaster Management Phase Before
Covers Thematic Crowdsourcing
Audience Experience Level Advanced
Source Website
Abstract Benefits of Crowdsourcing
  • The most obvious benefit of crowdsourcing is that it can be used to help collect large amounts of data in real time at potentially lower costs than traditional approaches.
  • Indeed, the “power of the crowd”, when combined with modern information and communication technologies, is the ability to conduct simple tasks such as measurement or observation at scale by enlisting large numbers of participants.
  • Though this potential is certainly significant, it is definitely not the only benefit of crowdsourcing information about risk assessment.
  • Another important reason to consider including crowdsourcing in risk assessment is that in addition to providing information, participants are themselves learning about risk in their area.
  • Crowdsourcing thus becomes an avenue for risk communication through outreach and sensitization.
  • Through involving new participants in the process, crowdsourced approaches also create opportunities to make risk assessment more inclusive. This can both improve the quality of the risk assessment through including local knowledge and raise public confidence in the results through increased understanding and ownership of the results.

Issues to consider when planning a crowdsourcing project

  • First step is to decide what information participants will be asked to contribute to the risk assessment
  • Define early in the planning who “the crowd” will be
  • What, if any, technical background should participants have?
  • How many participants are needed?
  • How will they be recruited?
  • Will they be compensated?
  • Will the risk assessment team have time to provide active oversight and feedback?
  • How can the project be sure to reach vulnerable or marginalized groupsthat typically might not be included?

Please note: Access to the following link is currently only available for project partners

Issues to consider when planning a crowdsourcing project

Is Archived No
Covers platforms

This document is the eighth in a series of special topics for consideration, as part of the Words into Action Guidelines on National Disaster Risk Assessment published by UNISDR. This section provides a general introduction for the use of crowdsourcing as an approach to gathering information for risk assessment, which has benefits not only for gathering data at a large scale, but also in educating participants on risks in their area as they gather information.