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About BlackShore

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BlackShore — mapping what matters:

BlackShore delivers accurate, up-to-date and low-cost map products based on the crowd-sourced interpretation of satellite data and aerial imagery with Cerberus.


Topics range from forest monitoring to disaster relief and food security. Our tailor-made maps or data labels for AI typically cover a large area thoroughly, yet they are very affordable and can be created in a matter of just a few days. This is achieved through a mapping concept unique in the market:


we use game-based crowdsourcing to create our maps and labels with a crowd of over 130 000 playing volonteers.

Cerberus cloud client interface using hexagons as units of analysis

In the Cerberus client which is cloud based, we use hexagons as units of analysis., also we allow for mapping using multi spectral satellite imagery

The concept of game-based crowdsourcing:

Even with today’s advanced artificial intelligence, the best interpretation of visual imagery is still being performed by humans. Putting a team of specialists on an interpretation quest for thousands of square kilometres is a very expensive and time-consuming task, though. This is where crowdsourcing comes in. 

With our award-winning Cerberus(tm) gaming platform, we utilise the eyes of hundreds to thousands of people throughout the world as sensors. Game players are briefed through e-learning first, which not only improves quality, but also raises awareness and builds knowledge for the topic at hand. After the training our crowd starts playing and gathering information. The more people mark the same object or visual change in an image, the more likely it is that this object or change is true. With so many people visually interpreting our imagery, we can use statistical methods to extract the right information with large confidence. This ensures our maps are thorough and accurate, though still very affordable.

Through Cerberus people are encouraged to actively participate in solving the world’s pressing problems. This is why so many players return to our crowdsourcing projects time after time. Through their eyes we can create information products that map what really matters.

Key advantages of BlackShore’s map products:

• Our mapping method is specifically designed for large and remote areas
• Low-cost information products compared to traditional techniques
• Thorough, accurate and reliable results
• Almost real-time information through fast and easy delivery of maps
• Customisable: get exactly the information you want 

Cerberus Crowds & Machines for AI
Cerberus 's origin: an interesting fact!

Cerberus (2011) was originally invented by our founder Hans van 't Woud to map the surface of Mars. Involving the "Mars Crowdsourcing Experiment" starting off as a Master Thesis principles have been proven which are stil the foundation of Cerberus's success both involving quality and quantity of data today.

So, can you imagine? Already in 2011 players were immersed using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter where this beautiful planet was re- created in a gaming environment. Players were released and amazed by the beautiy of this 'red' planet turning out to be very colorful after all. 

The rationale is, if we provide our crowd, or learners with embedded educational (e-learning) materials and teach what geospatial features we are looking for at the one end, and at the other hand use game mechanics to motivate our players, the results have always been more than what we were required to do.

"The Mars Crowdsourcing Experiment", created by J.S.S. van 't Woud, supported by the University of Amsterdam, is published a few times and can among many others sources be reviewed here: NASA/ADS Cerberus: The Crowdsourcing Experiment or later re- published: Cerberus: The Mars Crowdsourcing Experiment in Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP).
Cerberus Mars Crowdsourcing

Cerberus's origin involves the crowdsourced mapping of Mars, originally developed as a research paper. Cerberus was 2D at the time, and instead of hexagons squares were used as units of analysis. This project is known as "The Mars Crowdsourcing Experiment"

Cerberus is trademarked in the European Union

Cerberus (word mark) is trademarked in the European Union and the United Kingdom (UK)

Cerberus is trademarked and patented!

With already over a decade of use the Cerberus crowdsourcing platform acting as a mobile client mapping geographic areas has been trademarked and patented involving our applied methods and is for example covered as following:

  • Throughout the European Union Cerberus and the United Kingdom (UK) is Trademarked (word mark) for class 9 including apparatus and instruments for scientific or research purposes, audiovisual and information technology equipment, as well as safety and life-saving equipment.

  • As well Cerberus is trademarked in class 28 involving  toys, apparatus for playing games, sports equipment, amusement and novelty items etcetera.

  • In both the United States of America and the Netherlands for patenting, Cerberus is patented as "Method and apparatus for generating map data from images" ref (US US 10,037,611 B2 · Issued Jul 31, 2018)

  • -and "System and method for the translation of photographic satellite data into usable GIS data" ref (NL 2014000 · Issued Oct 12, 2016) 

Cerberus for defense: 

While a safe, healthy and equal world is key for BlackShore's vision, and Cerberus isn't designed for defense purposes, elements of our ecosystem might yet be used. If for defense, elements of our Cerberus platform might help to protect who need help or prevent any kind of violence at exceptional circumstances and can do good we do not have a blind eye. Even more, on the subject we have limited experience. 

For example, for the project Cerberus: Evolution it were the first steps to visualize Earth in 3D evolving from the older Adobe Flash based 2D clients. Building forth on game technology we helped Dutch defense with routing in difficult terrain in Mali involving Minusma.


Note, Cerberus for defense might be in line with satellite imagery based forensics which is a separate BlackShore branch. With Cerberus defense you could think of mission training, mission evaluation, operation planning and even line of sight estimations for protection. 

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