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Determining the accuracy of crowdsourced tweet verification for auroral research

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/12/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Citizen Science: Theory and Practice
Number of pages13
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The Aurorasaurus citizen science project harnesses volunteer crowdsourcing to identify sightings of an aurora (or the "northern/southern lights") posted by citizen scientists on Twitter. Previous studies have demonstrated that aurora sightings can be mined from Twitter but with the caveat that there is a high level of accompanying non-sighting tweets, especially during periods of low auroral activity. Aurorasaurus attempts to mitigate this, and thus increase the quality of its Twitter sighting data, by utilizing volunteers to sift through a pre-filtered list of geo-located tweets to verify real-time aurora sightings. In this study, the current implementation of this crowdsourced verification system, including the process of geo-locating tweets, is described and its accuracy
(which, overall, is found to be 68.4%) is determined. The findings suggest that citizen science volunteers are able to accurately filter out unrelated, spam-like, Twitter data but struggle when filtering out somewhat related, yet undesired, data. The citizen scientists particularly struggle with determining the real-time nature of the sightings and care must therefore be taken when relying on crowdsourced identification.