Application Ideas

Map-based game to collect survey information

If I recall correctly, for a lot of our surveys we have field representatives go visit various places to see if there is a housing unit there, in order to keep our survey frames up to date.

Perhaps we could have normal people collect the same information by playing a game that has them visit various places and report what they see. This data could then be used to double-check what the field representatives report.

Google has been experimenting with this kind of data-gathering game. Their "Ingress" app has players visit various places in order to keep its maps up to date.

Geoguessr is another game that could potentially be adapted for this purpose.

Perhaps with enough thought, we could design a game or app to convince people to give us the information that we would normally try to collect in a survey. For example, is an online personal finance service that collects much of the same information as, say, the Survey of Consumer Finances. Lots of games and apps out there are collecting all kinds of data without imposing any respondent burden. Of course there are data quality issues to be resolved, but that is certainly also the case with our traditional surveys.


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  1. Comment
    Community Member

    "One of the reasons that Census Bureau surveys are relied upon is that they ensure trust and reliability. If you can retain those aspects, then I think this is a good idea."

  2. Comment
    Community Member

    One of the reasons people don't participate is because it feels overly intrusive and the reward or value is not apparent. A 'game' might not be as effective as a function that can allow an individual to add their own information and avoid a visit from some government functionary asking personal questions. It is also a long time between census events (10 years) in today's world that is an eternity. Lastly, what incentive is there to participate? Having individuals offer their own data to supplement does save the government money and there should be a way to incentivise participation.

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