23 September 2014
Vienna, Austria

Role of Volunteered Geographic Information in Advancing Science: Effective Utilization

The VGI workshop, in which Steffen Fritz is one of the organizers of, is in conjunction with the Eighth International Conference on Geographic Information Science hosted by Vienna University of Technology, Austria.

GIScience 2014 continues a highly successful series of conferences started in 2000 that regularly brings together more than 200 international participants from academia, industry, and government organizations to discuss and advance the state-of-the-art in Geographic Information Science. The VGI workshop, with IIASA 's Steffen Fritz being one of the organizers of, takes place the day before the GIScience 2014 main conference on September 23, 2014.


The advent, integration, and rapid adoption of geospatial and cyber technologies have prompted a phenomenal growth of the rate at which individual citizens are able to easily generate and openly share data. User-generated content (UGC) and volunteered geographic information (VGI), which is a subset of the former with geo-specific information, are two terms that have emerged to describe this plethora of information available in cyberspace.  The arrival and rapidly increasing popularity of geographic exploration systems (such as Google Earth, Microsoft Bing Maps, and NASA World Wind) and social media platforms, have quickly expanded from geographic exploration to a community standard platform for global communication through geospatial information sharing.   Moreover, the ever-increasing membership of cyber social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Flicker, are sharing dynamic information about their locations and activities.  Integrated in such systems is a vast volume of VGI, that includes observables (such as vegetation, critical infrastructures, hydrography), directly physically measurable (such as temperature, geophysical parameters) data, and even personal perspectives and experiences of citizen participants in the form of images, videos, and text. For more information on this topic please visit the VGI workshop webpage.

While the workshop will have a special focus on effective utilization of VGI, it will more broadly discuss a larger number of topics of interest. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Volunteered geographic information
  • Utilization of VGI and crowdsourcing
  • VGI collection, dissemination, and curation
  • Uncertainty in geographic information
  • VGI life cycle and interoperability standards
  • Spatiotemporal data mining
  • Spatial model calibration, verification, and validation
  • Practical applications of VGI in research and operation

The anticipated outcomes of the workshop are the following:

  1. Develop a greater understanding of the various possible modalities and characteristics of VGI.

  2. Plausible methodological and technological approaches through which VGI can be made useful for scientific research.

  3. Identification of possible research projects and collaborative teams that might respond to upcoming calls for proposals as well as special issues of journals.

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Last edited: 11 April 2014


Steffen Fritz

Senior Research Scholar

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 353

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313