Crowdsourcing works: Producing the mobile 3G map of the UK

Rory Cellan Jones at the BBC has done an interesting experiment using crowdsourcing to discover the true coverage of 2G and 3G in the UK.

They produced a mobile app for Android, and asked users to download it to their phones.  They then collected usage data about mobile data coverage.

The results appeared to show differences from published coverage of data.  Here’s the map of the data showing coverage in my area… Unfortunately my coverage veers from 2G to no coverage.  Damn you purple square!

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But even so, I’m in a good area compared with the rest of the UK.  What makes this survey interesting is:

Crowdsourcing works even without monetary reward. The community wanted to contribute to the test and 44,600 volunteers downloaded the app and voluntarily used it to collect data to upload the the BBC

Crowdsourcing works if there is media involvement in the campaign.  I heard about this on the radio, the website and the blog.  Announcements across several social channels spread the word

Crowdsourcing works if there is value in the end goal.  The map of 3G coverage in the UK was the result.  You can now say you contributed to the sum of this knowledge (if you downloaded the app)

Other companies use crowdsourcing too – The Geeks are sexy blog has a visual explanation of crowdsourcing showing several other companies that have benefitted from crowdsourcing. 

Perhaps it would work for your business too?

Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.