Council’s crowdsourcing site takes landscape monitoring online

Hampshire County Council has launched a new website designed to monitor land changes in the area through contributions from members of the public.

Hampshire Landscape Watch is an innovative new project, supported by Innovate UK, to map landscape changes in Hampshire over the last eight years.

Developed in conjunction with Portsmouth University and aerial image analysts Remote Sensing Applications Consultants, the site allows members of the public to look for landscape changes by comparing pictures of the same sites from 2005 and 2013.

Each picture covers a four-hectare section of land and users can select options such as ‘gain’ and ‘loss’ to denote features of the land changing.

Results from the crowdsourcing site will then be published on the Hampshire Hub – a partnership project to set-up a Local Information System (LIS) for Hampshire.

A blog post on the Hampshire Hub site says: “The beauty of our platform is that anyone can take part. The information we need to extract from each image is relatively straightforward and there is plenty of help and guidance provided to help you identify the key features we are looking for.

“You certainly don’t need to be an expert to be able to make a real difference. You also don’t need to worry about making a mistake – because we are looking to combine information from lots of different users together in order to make an assessment, our analysis benefits from the ‘wisdom of crowds’.

“This is a phenomenon where the average answer to a problem provided by a large number of people is more accurate than any one single answer; even those of experts.”

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