pp. Obtaining information about an environment by accessing the sensor data generated via the smartphones and other devices used by a large number of people in that environment.
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Five categories of crowdsensing can be distinguished on the basis of two criteria. The criteria are (1) the involvement of the user in the crowdsensing process and (2) the type of the measured phenomenon. On the basis of the first criterion, we can distinguish participatory crowdsensing and opportunistic crowdsensing. In participatory crowdsensing, the users of the sensing devices actively send sensor data to a server. In opportunistic crowdsensing, the sending of information is automatic, with minimal involvement of the user.

On the basis of the second criterion, we can distinguish three types of crowdsensing: namely, environmental, infrastructure, and social crowdsensing. Environmental crowdsensing is used for measuring the natural environment (e.g., level of water, air pollution, wildfire habitats). Infrastructure crowdsensing is used for measuring the public infrastructure (e.g., traffic congestion and road conditions). The social crowdsensing is used for measuring data about the social life of individuals (e.g., the cinemas visited by an individual).
—Daniel Dimov, “Crowdsensing: State of the Art and Privacy Aspects,” InfoSec Institute, July 29, 2014
An application called MoboQ does exactly this by linking social networks with location data to let users ask time-sensitive questions about specific locations, and get them answered by complete strangers on the spot. This is crowd-sensing: a way of tapping into networks of distributed human beings.
—Hal Hodson, “Crowd-sensing apps tap every stranger's eyes and ears,” New Scientist, March 27, 2013
An emerging category of devices at the edge of the Internet are consumer centric mobile sensing and computing devices, such as smartphones, music players, and in-vehicle sensors. These devices will fuel the evolution of the Internet of Things as they feed sensor data to the Internet at a societal scale. In this paper, we will examine a category of applications that we term mobile crowdsensing, where individuals with sensing and computing devices collectively share data and extract information to measure and map phenomena of common interest.
—Raghu K. Ganti, et al., “Mobile Crowdsensing: Current State and Future Challenges” (PDF), IEEE Communications, November 01, 2011
2006 (earliest)
Last week, TomTom and Vodafone announced a partnership that takes the first steps in using mobile handsets in a distributed sensor network. Initially, TomTom is planning to utilise the locations of Vodafone handsets to feed traffic information to its customer's GPS units. …

Though the terms of the TomTom-Vodafone deal haven't bene made public, this kind of 'Crowdsensing' could prove to be a lucrative platform business for mobile operators.
—Imran Ali, “Crowdsensing,” O'Reilly Media, November 01, 2006