Citizen ‘crowd sourcing’ and informatics: enabling data collection and collaboration

A University of Utah researcher used crowd sourcing and social media to engage

the help of the public to collect samples of storm water after Superstorm Sandy.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Goldmund100.

As a proponent of data organization and collection, the PerkinElmer Informatics team encourages the practice of citizen science because of its ability to share and communicate diverse data. The process of crowd sourcing research has several parallels to the benefits of information sharing within an organization through our enterprise electronic lab notebooks.

Recently, a University of Utah researcher engaged citizen scientists via Twitter to ask the public in regions affected by Superstorm Sandy to collect storm water. He will now use those samples to analyze the isotopic composition of the storm water to determine how moisture traveled from different sources throughout the storm.

By crowd sourcing data collection, large numbers of people across geographic locations and organizations can contribute data for analysis. To us, that sounds like ‘citizen informatics’ – ways of collecting, analyzing, sharing and interpreting data.

We recently entered a strategic relationship with TIBCO Software Inc., the provider of the TIBCO Spotfire® software program, to provide TIBCO Spotfire software to our customers in certain markets. Combining TIBCO Spotfire software’s highly-powerful data visualization capabilities with our electronic lab notebooks means that scientists and researchers can easily share and access data anywhere, anytime - regardless of what file format that data is in and without the need for special query language.

Crowd sourcing may very well be the key to success for many research initiatives, as enterprise and cloud solutions enable lab scientists across the world to supply data for shared analysis. We plan to help facilitate collaboration by continuing to provide competitive solutions for data organization and analysis to scientists.

Read more about how the University of Utah researcher used crowd sourcing here.

Learn about data visualization and enterprise sharing here.

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