Gigwalk pays iPhone Users to Collect Information and Take Pictures of Everything

May 4th, 2011

In Omniveillance, I wrote about the proliferation of mobile devices equipped with cameras as a tool to gather local information,  beyond Google’s broad street view program. Gigwalk,a startup, seeks to take advantage of this dynamic, and pay people to use their iPhones to capture certain pieces of information in the public with the hopes of generating an enormous databank of real-world data. From TechCrunch:

Grab five to ten minutes here or there, at the right time and the right place, to complete a massive task no one person could do on his or her own. That’s exactly what a new startup called Gigwalk is trying to do, using the power of– you guessed it– the iPhone. You download the app, enter your PayPal information and get assigned entry level “gigs” or jobs that may take just a few minutes at a time, if you’re in the right location.

The first beta customer was the navigation company TomTom. No matter how much TomTom spends on a traditional salesforce, there will always be mistakes in its navigation– the one-way street, the surprise dead-end, the no left turn sign. These mistakes are an annoyance to users, but not fatal enough to the user experience for the company to invest millions in fact checking every street corner in the world. But if the company can pay someone already standing there $3 to snap a few pictures of the intersection in question and email them in, that changes everything.

So how does this work? Using your iPhone, you can capture pics of road signs, you can verify road signs, map transportation, snap pictures of local photos, capture local prices, provide product reviews, etc.

This is all done through crowd-sourcing,without the need to rely on Google’s massive streetview network of surveillance vehicles.

Omniveillance is nigh.