There are lots of attributes of the world out there that it would be nice to collect in to some structured data. Questions about your environment like these:
- Is it noisy where you are?
- Is it safe?
- What address are you at?
- Are you in an urban area?
- What objects are around you?
… and many more. So I built this crazy little web app here. It’s really best if you look at it on your phone. It works really best, if you’re out walking around some place.
You can answer questions about where you are in a quick-fire way. You can also ask new questions for anyone else to answer, all over the world. What will be really interesting is – what questions will you ask everyone else about the environment.
The data is aggregated together and then hopefully we can do meaningful things with it. Subjectivity of course will be interesting, if I think a place is noisy do you think it is quiet? And so on…
There are two special modes. The first, address-only allows you to focus on addresses and is a simple, clean interface to letting you walk around and collect geocode data. It is primed in the United States with data. The second is thing-only mode which lets you focus on taking pictures of objects and naming them. Objects and their names are very useful in machine learning. Both these modes focus on problems with lack of data that nobody is solving right now and each will get their own blog posts later.
There’s some simple game-ification in there too – you accrue points for all the questions you answer. Variable leaderboards (which refresh hourly) show how you’re doing against your peers in collecting data.
I must give a shout out to Yelp. The way the yelp iOS app asks quick questions when you check in to a venue is pretty neat. You check in, and it asks a variety of things like whether it’s a casual place, whether it’s expensive and so on. It does so in a very quick and fun way that almost makes you feel bad for not answering. I’m seeking to expand that to any question, about the whole world.