Volunteered Geographic Information: Selected Web Resources




Dietz, Cynthia
Suh, Joy

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Map & Geospatial Information Round Table


Increasingly Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is being used to create and analyze spatial information through visualizations, and geospatial models. The geospatial data used, whether publicly provided or offered by volunteers, has been made available more and more through Web 2.0 technologies. Innovators are hosting more web mapping services, and users are sharing more data from GPS capable and affordable units. The best VGI products are reviewed by peers or members that perform quality control checks and updates. Already there are signs that volunteer information has been playing a critical role to deliver real-time information through crisis mapping such as for Haiti's and Japan's Earthquake disasters. Although best practices to assess data accuracy, lineage, reliability, and appropriate uses are still evolving in VGI, geospatial librarians need to think about making VGI information accessible through their reference desks, especially when critical and real time information is not available elsewhere. Library outreach and instruction modules could be constructed to offer patrons near real-time data for problem solving, and for improving their critical thinking and evaluative skills. The online resources below provide important resources that are considered by the authors to be useful as an introduction to VGI efforts. The resources are presented in three categories: a) major VGI tools and resources, b) successful models for VGI for crisis information and mapping, and c) selected online VGI publications.


Published by the Map & Geospatial Information Round Table, part of the American Library Association. Originally published at http://www.ala.org/magirt/publications


Volunteered geographic information, Geospatial librarians, Reference


Dietz, Cynthia, and Joy Suh. Volunteered Geographic Information: Selected Web Resources. Map and Geospatial Information Round Table, Electronic Publication Series 12, 2012.