Co-creation can be tough. Especially when you’re working on something technical or scientific. How can an institution or company actively engage its users over a technical subject? How can you be sure that contributions and ideas are usable?
Maps are a great example of a large group of collaborators being able to contribute towards creating highly technical and highly accurate map data. As common as they might be, maps remain a highly sought after commodity today - Nokia recently sold its mapping division to a conglomerate of german automotive companies for over three billion US dollars! So how can organisations use co-creation to compete in this market?
The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aggregates and centralizes data from thousands of contributors into a large and very rich database. Since 2006 the company has crowdsourced and co-created a dataset that rivals and in some cases outclasses commercial mapping systems like Google Maps.
Through an advanced system of tools, rules and nomenclatures, the OpenStreetMap organisation is able to create an environment that promotes consistency and accuracy. Namely, users are encouraged, via semi-independant local chapters, to communicate as much as possible and share information, tips and collaborate as tightly as possible.
So if you think your project or idea is too complex and that co-creation or crowdsourcing won’t work, think again! The OSM wiki is a fantastic resource to look for inspiration and discover how to get multiple people over multiple continents working together to build something great.