Volunteered Geographic Information

Using crowd sourcing to measure foreign aid’s impact on poverty alleviation

I recently participated in a unique crowd sourcing event launched by USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA). For the first time in history, USAID partnered with volunteer technical communities, the Standby Task Force (SBTF), a trained network of volunteers, who are often the first responders from the online tech communities,  and GIS Corps, a GIS volunteer community to geocode DCA’s loan data.

DCA works with various financial institutions in developing countries to provide financing for local entrepreneurs. An example of these programs is the Growing Entrepreneurship Rapidly (GER) Initiative, in Mongolia.

Esri partnered with USAID by developing and hosting the USAID Crowd Sourcing Tool – an ArcGIS Online map with geocoding functionality that was one of the tools volunteers used to cleanse the data.

The final dataset was visualised using a story map template available on ArGIS Online.  The final map can be seen here: http://storymaps.esri.com/stories/usaidcredit/


 ArcGIS Online provides a easy-to-use platform to share new ideas and insights based on the foreign loan information via maps and web applications.

By visualising this foreign assistance data and making it publicly available, DCA and other organisations can begin to answer the question “are these economic initiatives alleviating poverty?”

This public visibility can help spark further conversations and collaboration about smart growth initiatives in developing countries.

For more information about the USAID crowd sourcing project, see:

One thought on “Volunteered Geographic Information

  1. Tilly

    Appreciate it for helping out, wonderful information. “The laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular.” by Edward Gibbon.


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