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AusCover part of global network of volunteers making better maps

AusCover, the remote-sensing facility of TERN, is implementing an online system to help field experts and citizen scientists to validate the digital maps produced from satellite data.

To assist with this process, AusCover team members at the University of Queensland are setting up a ‘geo-wiki’ system, a collaborative mapping effort that is happening in collaboration with the international Geo-Wiki project. It will allow people to provide direct feedback on the accuracy of the classification of vegetation types on the map.

The Director of AusCover, Dr Alex Held, said that AusCover was also considering a smartphone app as part of the project. ‘Because these phones are powerful enough to operate as a practical interface to Geo-Wiki, people in the field can use them to enter live updates to maps,’ Alex said.

This isn’t the only mobile app AusCover is exploring. Alex and TERN Associate Science Director Professor Stuart Phinn are discussing with Google Earth Outreach the possibility of an Android app to capture field data.

‘We’re looking at a customised remote-sensing validation tool that would be based on the approach taken in Open Data Kit. It’s very exciting. ODK is an open-source set of tools that can be used to build forms for data collection, do the collecting, and store the data in the cloud. It can make use of paper, video, and audio data,’ Alex said.

Published in the TERN e-Newsletter October 2012

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