NooTous is an ultra-simple application to count people participating to an event.
Each participant launches the app, and enters the hashtag of the event.
The countdown of participants is then displayed, and updated regularly.
And clusters of participants can be shown on a map:
2. What is stored?
For each user, the following data are stored:
- A unique id
- The hashtag of the event
- Up-to-date geolocation (blurred, since v1.7)
- Date&time of first and last updates
And that's it. There is no registration, no access to personal data, like emails or phone numbers.
Every time number matters. Mass protests. Supporters clubs. Musical events. Flash mobs. Etc.
3.1. Public events, private events
An event starting with a # is considered as public. It can be highlighted in the trends, suggested during typing, or shown as an example.
An event NOT starting with a # is considered as private : nothing in the application let users guess its existence.
3.2. For events organizers
On a specific hashtag, you can display a link to your site, and messages to participants.
You can also add KML content on the map.
NooTous is an open source project on GitHub, under LGPL licence.
This means that:
- Everyone can check the source code (useful for privacy concerns)
- It can be used free of charge, for participants, and organizers
- Code contributions are welcomed
6. Discussion - Are those countdowns reliable?
Mass protests estimates are usually subjects to passionate debates.
Each stakeholder provides its own figure, and the general public, seeing differences by a factor of 10, remains puzzled.
In this context, the question definitely makes sense: is NooTous giving reliable countdowns?
Over-estimate could come from people not really participating to the event, but using the application sitting in their sofa.
NooTous is handling this issue through the geolocation of participants. Our approach is the following:
- On the app, every user is counted, no matter his location (as we want to support multi-site events)
- But the location of participants can be viewed on the map. So it is easy - for anybody - to get the count of participants per site (see the screencopy above).
All participants will not use the application. For various reasons. Privacy concerns being probably on top of the list.
So it's obvious that NooTous will provide under-estimated figures.
How to cope with this issue?
The simplest solution is the survey: Pollsters should ask a representative set of participants if they used the app or not. Then apply the resulting ratio to get the total figure.
We can expect a steady ratio to progressively appear.