Combining Your Clicks with Milkman

I’ve been building a new app for the Milky Way Project called Milkman. It goes alongside Talk and allows you to see where everyone’s clicks go, and what the results of crowdsourcing look like. It’s open source, and a good step toward open science. I’d love feedback from citizen scientists and science users alike.

Milkman

Milkman is so called because it delivers data for the Milky Way Project, and maybe eventually some other Zooniverse projects too. You can access Milkman directly at explore.milkywayproject.org (where you can input a Zooniverse subject ID or search using galactic coordinates), or more usefully, you can get to Milkman via Talk – using the new ‘Explore’ button that now appears for logged-in users.

Clicking ‘Explore’ will show you the core view of Milkman: a display of all the clicks from all the volunteers who have seen that image and the current, combined results.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 09.14.38

Milkman 2

Milkman is a live, near-realtime view of the state of the science output from the current Milky Way Project. It might help people discussing items on Talk to understand what other objects are in the MWP images, and it hopefully shows how volunteers’ clicks are used.

Milkman uses a day-old clone of the main Zooniverse database, which means the clicks are at most 24 hours old. The clustering is performed using a technique called DBSCAN, which takes the vast array of clicks on each image and tries to automatically group them up. The resultant, averaged bubbles, EGOs, clusters, and galaxies are often better than any individual drawing, showing the power of crowdsourcing in acton.

Milkman is open source on GitHub and I’m happy to accept issues and feedback through the repo’s issues.

Immediate plans for Milkman include a navigable map on the homepage (to let you explore the whole galaxy), better links to other public astronomical data, and access to the current state of the reduced MWP2 catalogue as a whole. If you have ideas or requests either contact me or create an issue on GitHub.

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