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Observation Pool


There are gaps in our understanding of some aspect of the world which new data can help to address.


To build insight and improve decision making, there is a need for new observations about some aspect of the world. For these observations to be useful, they need to have good coverage of the area of interest. But collecting that data might be time consuming or costly for a single organisation to achieve.


Create a collaborative project that encourages a community of contributors to submit observations about the area of interest.

There is often a need to create better insights about the current state of the world. Data about sightings of animals or reports of weather conditions might inform research, support conservation or raise awareness of environmental issues. Reports of problems in cities and the built environment can help improve decision making and prioritisation of resources.

Filling these gaps in our understanding can be time consuming. To be useful, the data needs to be current and have good coverage across a geographic area or community.

Sharing the work of collecting these observations across a community of contributors and pooling them into a common database can help to reduce costs and demonstrate the benefits of better data.

This type of project is similar to a Collaborative Cataloguing project because:

  • it is asking users to carry out a specific task(s) to collect data for a purpose
  • there is a focus on collaborative data collection rather than curation
  • it is likely to be run as a campaign and it may be beneficial to Gamify Contributions
  • the collected data will conform to a Fixed Schema that captures the same basic information for each observation

The differences from a Collaborative Cataloguing project are:

  • users are all completing the same basic task, in this case making repeated observations of some event or the current state of some aspect of our world
  • there is no fixed definition of when the project is completed as additional observations will continually improve the dataset. A Progress Indicator would likely focus on reporting coverage or the volume of contributions
  • there may be a need to provide a Proof Of Witness to build confidence in the contributed data

It is likely that reviewing contributed data will be based on a Retrospective Review of the observations and the submitted evidence.

Related patterns

Collaborative Cataloguing

There is a discrete set of documents, images, photographs or other material that are currently unstructured, but that could be turned into a structured dataset

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