Dutch enterprise BlackShore developed Cerberus as a videogame where the player’s task is to analyze satellite imagery.
Players have access to a variety of virtual flying drones that scan hexagonal plots of land. One must then classify the plots depending on criteria set by the current project (e.g. land cover or land use).
The result is a mapping method that turned out much less expensive while being more reliable than machine learning at this scale. So far, projects have covered several sectors on different continents such as:
- Palm oil production and deforestation in Brazil
- Rhino poaching in Zambia
- Coconut production in the Solomon Islands
- Fresh water monitoring in Mali
The abovementioned method have a wide range of applications from monitoring illegal activities (logging, drilling, poaching etc.) to quickly identify terrain specificities and facilitate disaster relief and humanitarian aid. With modern satellite imagery has a resolution of 30 meters per pixel and improving over time, it is easy to imagine a growing number of users adding their input to similar projects.
The Cerberus game eventually evolved to resemble other city-building simulations (such as the Anno and SimCity series) but the underlying principle of resorting to crowdsourcing for the production of maps remains. We can thus imagine integrating interactive entertainment to many more industries and improve
The game is available at the following link
BlackShore B.V., 2021. Crowd Generated Maps with Cerberus. Available at https://www.blackshore.eu/crowd-generated-maps
European Space Agency, 2019. Available at https://business.esa.int/projects/cerberus