Crowdsourcing the Khan

In the latest Health & Science section of The Washington Post (which is slowly, but surely, growing in quality) you can read an article about a slightly different kind of crowdsourced science project.  Most of the projects I’ve posted on have focused on getting volunteers to scan astronomical data and/or pictures to help index and categorize stellar, lunar or planetary phenomena.

In this case, things are focused back on Earth.  Albert Lin, an anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego, is working on a project called The Valley of the Khans.  In cooperation with National Geographic, his colleagues are using an application called Field Expedition: Mongolia.  This program collects observations of satellite images to try and identify older structures in Mongolia.  The human input is useful in identifying those features that just stick out.  When observations from volunteers cluster around particular locations, Lin and his team check it out in person.

The ultimate goal is to find the tomb of Genghis Khan, which has never been found, but is presumed to be in the northeastern region of Mongolia.  Even if you don’t want to tag photos, you can follow the progress of this work online.