Creating incentives for people to share public GIS data

Posted in Conferences, Companies on December 06, 2008

While they might share common conservation goals, motivating advocates, scientists and policy makers to share public data is no easy task. Issues of trust, data provenance, statistical accuracy, and usability are all challenges that cause collaborative public GIS platforms to fail. Rhiza Labs CEO Josh Knauer will give an overview of, a free online website for the conservation community using Google Maps/Earth, that is winning accolades from both scientists and advocates for its scientific integrity, robust mapping and analytical tools and ease of use. Prior to writing a single line of code, the DataBasin design team conducted in-depth interviews with both data producers and consumers to understand how best to motivate users to share public data. The result is a system that delivers valuable tools that meet the needs of a diverse user-base and offers a unique publication model that rewards everyone for collaborative behavior.

This is part of a larger project to build a peer-to-peer Information Commons of public data: several papers describing our technological and collaborative innovations are available at

Speaker: Josh Knauer - Chief Executive Officer, Rhiza Labs
Josh has been a social entrepreneur for the past 20 years, creating and leading successful organizations in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. His ability to spot emerging trends in technology and how they can be used for the betterment of society and the environment have caused him to be considered a leading expert in the field. He's been featured in Time, Fortune, Newsweek and Wired magazines, and was even named a New Media Hero by the Utne Reader.

Prior to heading up MAYA Design's Information Commons research effort, Josh founded and was the Executive Director of the EnviroLink Network, the Internet's largest and most complete environmental information resource, in 1991. He went on to become the Founder and CEO of, an e-commerce site for socially and environmentally responsible products, services, and information. In 2002, Knauer sold to Gaiam.

Josh lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, children and dog. When not starting up a new business, he can be found in his garden tending organic and heirloom vegetables or out hiking in the woods.

Google Tech Talks
April, 15 2008

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Tags: Techtalks, Google, Conferences, engEDU, Education, Google Tech Talks, GIS, Companies