Leveraging Online Gaming Environments
Online, cooperative citizen science platforms such as PlanetHunters.org and eBird are becoming increasingly popular and successful. The next logical step would be to leverage existing online environments-specifically, online gaming environments-as platforms for research, analysis, and design. By testing alternative designs in the virtual world of a video game, people simply "playing games" could actually be playing a valuable role in designing future buildings, roads, cities, and parks. If this was done to be both representative of the real world and entertaining at the level expected in a video game, participants could make potentially important societal contributions while still having fun playing their games.
Leveraging online gaming environments as a resource could add a whole new dimension to geospatial research and analysis.