Volunteered geographic information

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionaryAcademicpeer-review


Volunteered geographic information (VGI) is spatial data that are gathered and shared by individuals to derive information about the world. VGI has largely been embraced due to the pervasiveness of mobile devices and affordances offered by the locational sensors that are housed within them. VGI is deeply valuable to scientists because now seemingly anyone, heterogeneous geographically dispersed populations, with a mobile device can make observations about the world and share them on the Internet. These contributions may be qualitative or quantitative observations and include multimedia content such as videos and photos. With this new data source, new spatial patterns maybe revealed that previously went unnoticed. Specific issues associated to VGI that are particularly interesting to human geographers relate to volunteer's motivation, accuracy, precision, and reliability of the data, questions about whether the data are contributed by a local expert or a remote user, ethical considerations related to data ownership and views that may be privileged over others on new maps generated with VGI
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography
EditorsAudrey Kobayashi
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022962
ISBN (Print)9780081022955
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Accuracy
  • Citizen science
  • Crowd-Sourced
  • Ethics
  • Geographic
  • Information systems
  • Location-based services
  • Maps
  • Participation
  • Precision
  • Volunteered grographic
  • information


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