Collecting the list of VGI-related projects and induce their relevant categories – week 7

During this week, I have focused on searching and collecting the list of projects which are relevant to volunteered geographic information (VGI). It was pretty challenging to find any summarized list, probably because the term of VGI had been coined relatively recently in 2007. The VGI sites inventory on VGI-net, which is a collaborative research project by the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Ohio State University and the University of Washington, was only the list that I could find. I visited all of those sites to decide on whether they are within the scope of our project and produced short description of them if they are relevant. In addition to checking the list from the VGI-net, I manually searched VGI-related papers through Google Scholar with the key phrase of “volunteered geographic information” and read top 100 papers. If these papers made reference to any name of VGI-related project or site, I visited the sites to decide whether they are really related to VGI and within the scope of our project. After put all the projects in the excel file and cleaned the redundant projects, I could collect 129 VGI-related projects.

I also tried to draw categories of the VGI-related projects, as different projects in different domains may require different sets of quality assurance mechanisms. While reviewing the list, I could draw five categories of VGI related projects: (1) geographic-centric project; (2) Infrastructure/platform for sharing geographic information; (3) technology-centric project; (4) public participation project; (5) government-driven project. The goal of geographic-centric projects is to produce geographic information as we can see how the OpenStreetMap contributes to enhance the large volume of geographic information. On the contrary to this, the goal of second category focuses on providing infrastructure or platform to share geographic information. The kinds of information shared on this are diverse from emergency-related information to shared photos for planning vacation. The technology-centric project aids to develop and to provide free or affordable software and can be considered as open-source project. Public participation project empowers normal publics, who have little voice in the public arena, through geographic technology education and participation. The last category is related to projects in which federal or local governments share geographic information with their communities. The number of these kinds of projects is declining probably because the competition over for-profits services gets bitter.

Next week, I will continue on working on documenting data quality mechanisms from VGI related projects. I will review carefully how the eBird project has adopted and developed data quality mechanisms in its history. This review will help us understand how different strategies can be utilized and fit best in terms of the project evolvement.

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