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The World Health Organization (WHO) has embarked on a new pilot project that integrates crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence (AI) to support polio outbreak response activities in Papua New Guinea. WHO requested the assistance of GISCorps volunteers to support this effort in what was originally planned as a two-phase mission. Five volunteers were selected and connected to WHO representatives; they were Linder Ringo (California, USA), Bhanu Vedula (Alberta, Canada), Melissa Daniels (Colorado, USA), Amy Murphy (Maryland, USA), and Lance Owen (Georgia, USA).

The first phase of the mission was to have the five volunteers validate existing building points in two provinces, producing a validated sample set. In the second phase, that validated sample set would be fed into an AI engine that would extract points for the area of interest. Finally, the same group of volunteers would quality check the AI output.

The first phase of the project was completed successfully and ahead of schedule and the outcome was forwarded to WHO representative. The second phase has been placed on hold due to the delay in analyzing the data in the AI engine. Volunteer Melissa Daniels submitted the following report describing the outcome of the first phase of this mission:

In July 2019, I collaborated with four other GISCorps volunteers on a World Health Organization (WHO) project. Four of us were from the U.S., and the other was from Canada. The goal of the project was to support WHO polio outbreak response activities in Papua New Guinea. We used the ArcGIS Online platform to validate AI-generated building points by either accepting, moving, or deleting points so that all points in a grid were on top of buildings (Photo 1).

Photo 1: Building points within a single validation grid cell.

The initial phase of the project was slated to take five days, but the five of us completed the project in three days and validated 87,566 building points in 562 grid cells. We were intended to complete a similar workflow in the second phase of the project after the points went back to the AI, but due to unforeseen issues, we never had the opportunity to complete the second phase of the project.

Photo 2: Validation grid cells with building points.
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