Mapping Human Impact Using Crowdsourcing
This chapter outlines how crowdsourcing and Google Earth have been used to create the first global crowdsourced map of human impact. Human impact in this context refers to the degree to which the landscape has been modified by humans as visible from satellite imagery on Google Earth. As human impact is measured on a continuum, it could be used to indicate the wildest areas on the Earth. This bottom-up approach to mapping using the crowd is in contrast to more traditional GIS-based wilderness mapping methods, which integrate proximity-based layers of remoteness and indicators of biophysical naturalness in a top-down manner. Data on human impact were collected via a number of different data collection campaigns using Geo-Wiki, a tool for visualization, crowdsourcing and validation of global land cover. An overview of the crowdsourced data is provided, along with the resulting map of human impact and a visual comparison with the map of human footprint (Sanderson EW, Jaiteh M, Levy MA, et al. BioSci 52:891–904. doi: 10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0891:THFATL]2.0.CO;2, 2002).
KeywordsWilderness Human impact Human footprint Geo-Wiki Crowdsourcing Land cover
This research was supported by the Austrian Research Funding Agency (FFG) via the LandSpotting (No. 828332) and FarmSupport (No. 833421) projects.
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