WikiProject Canada/Crowdsourcing Buildings

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This project appears to have become abandoned in late 2017 and/or has morphed into something approximated by WikiProject_Canada/Building_Canada_2020. Further efforts to "crowdsource buildings in Canada" (which is to effectively put them into OSM, first as buildings, then with "more rich tags," and whether with or without a municipal Open Data license which is or is not ODbL-compatible) must use that wiki for intra-OSM communication. A project which has been abandoned and has no intra-OSM project management will not be allowed, as too many national-level projects which do not abide by OSM's community tenets (good communication, the knowledge of fundamental principles like Import Plans avoiding pitfalls, consensus...) fail with miserable results (patchy, poor, inconsistent data due to a lack of coordinated communication).

Pilot project with Statistics Canada on crowdsourcing buildings

Project web page:

This crowdsourcing pilot project focused on mapping buildings across Canada. If you live in Ottawa or Gatineau, you might have been among the first to collaborate with us. If you live elsewhere, see the BC2020 WikiProject. We were very excited to work with communities across the country on this project. As a project contributor, you might have helped create a free and open source of information on commercial, industrial, government and other buildings in Canada. We needed your support to close this important data gap! Your work might have improved your community's knowledge of its buildings, and in turn informed policies and programs designed to help you.

There are currently no accurate national-level statistics on buildings— and their attributes—that can be used to compare specific local areas. The information you submitted might have helped to fill existing data gaps and provided new analytical opportunities important to data users. This project might also have taught us about the possibilities and limitations of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing data collection may become a way for Statistics Canada and other organizations around the world to collect much-needed information by reaching out to citizens. In 2016, Statistics Canada initiated a two-years pilot project aimed at understanding the potential of data crowdsourcing for statistical purposes.

The project made use of OpenStreetMap as a platform for inviting contributors to crowdsource information on buildings (footprints, addresses and simple building attributes). The pilot project will focus on the Ottawa-Gatineau region for now.

The project was looking at information for buildings: more specifically:

1. Buildings

  • Type of building (main Building tag)
  • Name
  • Full address (Address field)
  • Reduced mobility access (wheelchair access)

2. Activity (office tag for none commercial specific activities, this is for type of offices)

  • Shops and amenities (points)

Project results


One result seems to be that if by "crowdsourcing," specifically OSM is meant, then the culture and tenets of OSM as a "host project" must be respected and followed. This includes the important component of using wiki (this medium) to communicate plans, intentions and status. And that "closing down" a pilot project once it is abandoned is an important thing to do in OSM and its wikis.

Links to the project resources

Ottawa Import Plan

Project editor: Crowd-iD

Mobile editor: CODAP

The project in the media and research documents

Article in the Ottawa Citizen (Nov 14, 2016): How you can help StatCan test crowdsourcing in mapping Ottawa's buildings

Documentary, REPORT RAI3, (May 15, 2017) REPORT, La Grande Scommessa (in Italian, full English transcript of documentary available in PDF on the same web page, StatCan project at about min 30 of the documentary)

Working paper ARITHMUS (July 6, 2017): Citizen Data and Official Statistics: Background Document to a Collaborative Workshop