USAID Hosts its First "Crowdsourcing" Event To Clean, Map, and Share Agency Data

May 31, 2012, 18:27 ET from U.S. Agency for International Development

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From June 1-3, volunteers will virtually collaborate with USAID staff to review Agency data on specific USAID economic growth activities, and help code that data with geographic information to help the Agency map its impact.


Aside from the substantive value of the data, this pilot will pave the way for additional complex data sets to be opened up to the public. The online volunteers range from students, geography experts and transparency advocates.

This type of effort is known as "crowdsourcing," which is a distributed problem-solving process during which tasks are outsourced to a network of people for assistance. In this case the network or "crowd" will consist of online volunteer communities such as the Standby Task Force and GIS Corps, as well as interested individuals who want to participate.

"The U.S. Government is committed to opening data and increasing aid transparency. This pilot is an example of this commitment," said Eric Postel, Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Education and Environment at USAID. "By enabling volunteers to help us sort through and clean non-confidential data we will be able to release information that will help us track, monitor, measure and build upon progress. We also expect that this pilot will pave the way for additional data sets to be open to the public for future projects."

"The project will demonstrate how crowdsourcing and online volunteers can play a significant role in both opening up development data for the purposes of Smarter Development," said Patrick Meier from the Standby Task Force. "We're excited to be partners in this effort."

This crowdsourcing effort is the latest step by the Obama Administration to give a wide variety of stakeholders the ability to examine, research, and track U.S. Government foreign assistance investments in an easy-to-understand format. Like the previously released Foreign Assistance Dashboard, this pilot is enabling the United States to take another step forward in becoming a leader in aid transparency.

Join the crowd by signing up at For live updates, follow @USAID_Credit on Twitter.

For more information about USAID and its programs, please visit
USAID Public Information: 202-712-4810

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years.

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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development