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Help CBC News map pipeline safety across Canada

Categories: Canada, Community


CBC News has compiled hundreds of government records on pipeline safety incidents since 2000 and plotted them on a map so you can see where and when they occurred. Now, we need your help to check the data.

We're asking volunteers like you to let us know about problems in one section of our data, a process sometimes called crowdsourcing.

Why are we asking readers to check our work?

The lengthy data set we obtained from the federal pipeline regulator via access-to-information requests was unwieldy and difficult to turn into a usable format. 

We've done most of the work to convert the National Energy Board's grainy PDFs of spreadsheets into editable text and we've gone through it all to verify key fields.

But we haven't gone through the detailed descriptions of each of the 1,047 events. 

The commercial optical character recognition (OCR) software we used got most of the summary text right, but didn't handle redactions and certain characters well. That's where the crowdsourcing comes in. 

The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. faced a similar quandary in 2009 when it sought to analyze data on MPs' expenses published by the government. It set up a website -- Investigate your MP's expenses -- to allow Britons to verify and analyze the documents. 

More than 20,000 volunteers went through the documents to separate useless bits like coversheets and blank pages from the interesting details on how politicians were spending taxpayers' money. 

The project uncovered MPs billing the government for everything from bathroom renovations to chimney sweeps. 

You can help CBC News verify information on the pipeline map by clicking on the "Can you help?" link that appears on every entry. 

There, you can check the government's PDF against the data as we have it and alert us to any problems in the translation. 

You can also add to the information on our map by sending us your stories related to the specific incidents -- or by telling us about other ones that aren't included in the database. Send us an email at

Thanks in advance for your help. 

Tags: Canada, CBC, Community, Politics

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