LA Pools, full title The Big Atlas of LA Pools is about the process of mapping and map-making in the contemporary age of big data, open data, crowdsourcing, and citizen science. The project attempts to highlight on one hand the emerging and powerful role of non-domain experts in the discovery of scientifically and socially relevant information, and on the other hand seeks to emphasize the darker, creepier, and more contentious issues surrounding data processing and exploration.
As a two-person army, Benedikt Gross (DE) and Joseph K. Lee (USA) (http://jk-lee.com/) located and traced the contours of over 43,000 pools and other manmade water boundaries ‚ features which computer vision could not adequately demarcate. Throughout their project, the two exploited the idea of crowdsourcing to process the aerial ortho-imagery of their study area in Los Angeles County and to validate their dataset using commercial online third-party services, namely clipping farms in India and Amazon Mechanical Turk. In addition, they mashed then together additional layers of contextual information (e.g. Crime, Sex Offenders etc.) that might suggest surprising, or intriguing, or sinister spatial relationships within LA's social and physical landscapes.