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Bring Your Own Data: Opportunities and Challenges in Using Citizen-Generated Data

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Have you ever reported traffic congestion or an accident to the local radio station or a smartphone app? Have you measured snow or rain fall for your local TV station? These are basic types of citizen-generated data.

Emergency health response agencies, including the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), already uses citizen-generated data passively collected through social media channels like Twitter to track trending illnesses. At ASPR, we want to learn more about other applications of citizen-generated data and how this data can help us understand what is going on in a community following a disaster. Why are citizens participating in other projects? What is the quality of the data that is reported? What challenges or limitations exist when using citizen-generated data?

As we discussed this concept with colleagues at other agencies we quickly realized we weren’t the only ones interested in learning more. So, with our federal agency partners and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we will be hosting a day-long forum Nov. 14, in the Washington, DC area entitled: “Bring Your Own Data: opportunities and challenges in using citizen-generated data for situational awareness.”

This event is open to anyone who may have an interest in citizen-generated data. Whether you’re a part of academia or the government, an environmentalist or epidemiologist, we’d love to see you there!

During the forum, we’ll hear about and discuss how citizens have contributed to studies, the value citizen-generated data has brought to projects, and the lessons learned through citizen involvement. At the end of the forum, we hope to have a better understanding of the challenges to using data provided by citizens, ideas for overcoming the challenges and limitations, and how this data can be used for situational awareness.

The event will include discussion and panel presentations on the following topics:

  • Transforming Research with Passive Citizen Data
  • Bring Your Own Data—Participatory Data Collection
  • Building Situational Awareness With Passive and Participatory Data
  • ASPR Challenge Competition Winner Announcement
  • What can we learn from citizens generating ecological data?
  • What can we learn from citizens sharing genomic and personal data?
  • How Federal Agencies and Federal Partners are Using Citizen-Generated Data

For more information and to participate in the forum, visit the registration page. If you have any questions about the forum please feel free to contact fusion.info@hhs.gov.

What kinds of citizen-gathered information is available and how would you suggest using it?

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