5 Steps to Painlessly Conducting and Mapping Your Next Crowdsourced Survey

So, you want to crowdsource the data for your next survey, planning study, or public involvement strategy. Awesome! Don’t have a GIS budget for mapping it? Here’s 5 steps to your professionally mapped crowdsourced survey or study painlessly and, perhaps most importantly, for free:

If the area you wish to study is being surveyed by a population that knows how to use the internet- this could be random citizens or a group of volunteers- this is going to be the easiest survey of your life. For the tech-savvy populations, we’ll be using two Google tools: the Google Forms function in Google Drive, a simple form creation tool within Google Drive, and Google Maps Engine Lite, a mapping tool we learned how to use last week. For the not-so-tech-savvy survey volunteers and target populations, or the I-like-my-Walkman-thank-you-very-much crowd, we’re going to be using good old paper, Microsoft Excel, and the shiny new Google Maps Engine Lite.

Tech-Savvy Crowdsourcing Guide:

  1. Create a professional Google account.
    This crowdsourcing effort should probably be done through your professional email and not on your private Google account (if you have one), since you could be working with a lot of data and you’ll be sharing your findings with everyone and their neighbor.
  2. Create a Google Form through Google Drive for your survey.
    Ask all of the questions you need to ask. Be sure to ask for address! This will be vital when mapping your findings. Follow this text tutorial and utilize the self-help guide, and you’ll be a pro in no time. If you prefer to learn through videos, try this introductory one from Google.
  3. Google will automatically create a spreadsheet containing all of the responses to the survey within your Google Drive.
    This isn’t actually a step. I just wanted to let you know that magic was happening instead of agonizing data entry. Enjoy the extra time by perusing TPUDC’s Pinterest page!
  4. Import your automatically created spreadsheet into Google Maps Engine Lite.
    Follow this incredibly clear YouTube tutorial from an educator in Australia. It’s so simple and fast you’ll be done before you realize you began.
  5. Fine-tune mapped data in Maps Engine Lite.
    There are a number of ways to customize how your data looks in Google Maps now that it’s been imported. If you’ve never used the tool before, we suggest starting with basic tutorials like this thoroughly illustrated text tutorial by a blogger in the UK. If you prefer learning through lectures and watching someone perform the tasks, try YouTube tutorials like this one from MyUntangled Media or this video tutorial if the first one didn’t make sense.

Traditional Meets Modern Crowdsourcing Guide:

  1. Create and print your survey- old school.
    Nope, no magic here. Just good, old-fashioned human interaction. Be sure to ask for address! This will be vital when mapping your findings.
  2. Enter your survey results.
    This can be in Micorsoft Excel, Google Drive, Open Office, or any other spreadsheet tool.
  3. Import your spreadsheet into Google Maps Engine Lite.
    Follow this text tutorial from Google. It takes about as much time as importing from a Google Drive file, so why not sue the extra time to see what we’re doing on Facebook?
  4. Fine-tune mapped data in Maps Engine Lite.
    There are a number of ways to customize how your data looks in Google Maps now that it’s been imported. If you’ve never used the tool before, we suggest starting with basic tutorials like this thoroughly illustrated text tutorial by a blogger in the UK. If you prefer learning through lectures and watching someone perform the tasks, try YouTube tutorials like this one from MyUntangled Media or this video tutorial if the first one didn’t make sense.

Thank you very much for reading this week! Let us know via our Facebook or Twitter how this tutorial helped you and check out our Pinterest page for more urban planning inspiration!

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