A good chunk of my day job is now spent working on Measurement Lab. News of similar efforts to harness end users to generate empirical data on various aspects of the Internet, or in this case the 3G carrier networks in the UK, piques my interest.
An app which is providing data for a BBC survey into the UK’s 3G coverage has notched up 33,000 downloads.
The results will be collated and offered via a clickable map to give the first glimpse of what a 3G UK really looks like.
I am unfamiliar with Epitiro, no idea of their track record and how their survey will stack up against a similar effort planned by the UK regulator, Ofcom, or the existing open project mentioned in the article, OpenSignalMaps. Having more than one data set isn’t necessarily a problem so long as the data is open to all for detailed analysis, the methodologies are clearly explained and, ideally, the source code of the tools used to collect the information are open. (That may also be my bias speaking since all three of these are true for Measurement Lab.)
Regardless, as long as data sets can be correlated to account for differences and for the purposes of confirming the objectivity of each, the more the merrier. In the end the goal should be to ground policy debate on accurate data, to move past bickering over anecdata and others attempts to skew the framing with questionable information.