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Year in review as a Shuttleworth Fellow

Shuttleworth Fellow

Photo by Open Source

One year ago I started a fellowship that changed my life.

One year later, the Shuttleworth Foundation has renewed my fellowship for another year. Amazing!

Becoming a fellow

One of the most interesting aspects of pitching to Shuttleworth Foundation is the video pitch. Last year, I wrote a blog post about it explaining how I shot that video.

The video is a very interesting exercise, as you are forced to express your ideas in a very succinct way, as you only have 5 minutes, and you have to use them wisely.

My first video was done in two days, and I loved the result, however I needed something better for my second year.

I wanted to show how much I love my work, who am I, and what do I do thanks to the foundation’s support. The result? Well, judge it yourself (please leave me a comment about the video):

I’ll write another blog post about the video and its creation. I promise.

The foundation liked it, and I have another year to do many more things thanks to their support.

Year in review

The first fellowship year helped me to have a team of awesome people. Thanks to the their support, I’ve managed to hire a UX person (to me he’s the best in the world), two developers (that work really hard and love what they do), and a young communications person (who writes awesome blog posts about our work) -don’t be shy and check our team page.

Now, with a team behind PYBOSSA and Crowdcrafting, I could move quickly, learn from the team, attend more meatings, develope new features and make Crowdcrafting a place to hang out for citizen scientists.

Growing step by step

While we were working, we got a great opportunity: the British Museum and the UCL were interested in PYBOSSA and more importantly: they wanted to use it for their own citizen science project.

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In April of 2014, the project was launched with great coverage from the press. At the time of this writing, the project has managed to have more than 1 thousand contributors with 18 published projects. Awesome!

We worked with them closely to build two templates that have being used to build the 18 projects:

  • a transcription template to make available a huge card catalogue of British prehistoric metal artefacts discovered in the 19th and 20th century, and
  • a template that enables the creation of a high quality 3D model of an archaeological artefact via process known as photo-masking.

I’m really proud of the work done for this project and its successthe work done for this. This achievement has proved that PYBOSSA is mature to be used as a tool for doing citizen science, and more importantly that international institutions trust our software, tools and methodologies.

Exciting times ahead

I collaborate with the Medialab-Prado institution in Madrid, Spain, and I coordinate there the citizen science workstation. As part of my collaboration, we organize international workshops where anyone can pitch their project. If the project is interesting, it gets accepted, and a group of collaborators join you to collaborate.

In one of these calls, a research group from the Complutense University applied to create a citizen science project to analyze the light pollution of cities. The interesting part: they wanted to use photographs taken directly from the International Space Station by astronauts!

Cool, right? And best of all: they wanted to use Crowdcrafting for developing the project!!!

Oh My God GIF

The project was accepted and left beta in July. In this month the research group sent out a press release about the project. The press release was sent to NASA and ESA and they supported the project with tweets like this one from ESA:

Then, the unexpected happened. NASA wrote a full article about the project and obviously tweeted it:

The result? Well lots of international media mentioned the project like Popsci, Co.Exists, NBC News, CNN, Gizmodo, Smithsonian Magazine, etc.

Amazing right? Well, this was not yet the best part. Trust me. The 21 of August, FOX News TV showed on prime time Crowdcrafting and how to contribute to the project:

Thanks to this amazing coverage Crowdcrafting stored in one single day more than one answer per second, with thousands of new volunteers registering in the site and thousands of tasks completed in hours! (check the statistics).

Despicable Me Minion OMG

Since then, we have had new users registering every day, tasks completed every day, and lots of contributions from volunteers. Amazing!

And this has happened only in the first year of my fellowship, so what will bring my second year? Really looking into it!!!!