Guest Post by SocialCops: a crowd-sourced data collection agency

“Facebook has a million users in India. You know who has a billion? The Census.”

Our world’s most important decisions are crippled by an astonishing lack of data. National level healthcare decisions affecting millions are made based on a sample survey of 100 people. No map in the world can tell women the safest route home or tell the police the best route to patrol. We are a team of passionate engineers, economists & data scientists who believe that the solution to our world’s biggest problems lies in technology.

Our mission is to track the most important parameters in our world – such as quality of public infrastructure, adherence to drugs, access to medical care & teacher attendance in public schools to enable data-driven decision making by governments, non-profits, and civil society.

For the last 6 months we have been wrapping our heads around a significant problem – how can we affect better decision making through data? How much data do we need? How do we collect this data? How do we create better tools and channels for data collection? How do we turn this data into insights that lead to better decision-making?

We got our hands dirty – carried out pilots, understood what works and what doesn’t work. Some of the things we settled upon as our main streams of data collection are:

CROWDSOURCE: We work with community stakeholders to harness citizen voice as a resource to solve real life problems. By using technology we create connected and synergistic communities characterized by an efficient flow of information, highly engaged citizens and efficient feedback systems.

In the past 8 months, SocialCops has already put mobiles to work on various intractable issues in India such as getting citizens to rate cleanliness on streets all the way to creating public worker reward systems. Read more about our tool here.

SURVEY: We empower non-profit networks and field partners with low-cost Android phones to collect data at scale. Our tools reduce 50% time and more than 100% costs for data collection processes. Our non-profit partners, in turn, monitor untracked parameters in real time, contributing to enriching public data sources in the country.

CONVERSATIONS: We use voice and SMS to empower people with important information about topics such as preventive healthcare – while collecting granular data through dial-an-answer surveys. Through this data, we power important healthcare decisions regarding drug and resource allocation in the country.

Our data station is processing millions of data sets – pulling data from public sources, open data, social media, and data from real-time SocialCops channels. Data means nothing until it drives better decisions, and that’s what the data station aims to do.

We are a fast growing startup that operates at the intersection of technology, data, and people. Come join us in solving some of the most pressing problems facing humanity. Check our open positions here.

Anuradha Goyal