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[liberationtech] Call for Papers - Citizen Data at a Crossroads: How should Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)

Yosem Companys companys at
Thu Aug 16 14:09:35 PDT 2012

*Citizen Data at a Crossroads: How should Volunteered Geographic
Information (VGI) be conceptualized?*

Call for Papers

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting

9-13 April 2012 Los Angeles, CA

** **


Jon Cinnamon, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University****

Britta Ricker, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University****

** **

Despite being a relatively new phenomenon without a widely accepted
definition, volunteered geographic information (VGI) is commonly
conceptualized – following Web 2.0 ideals – as geographic information
created by distributed citizens interacting with geospatial technologies on
a conscious and voluntary basis without oversight or the use of formalized
data collection frameworks (see  Elwood* et al.*, 2012; Haklay* et al.*,
2010). This image of VGI has garnered appreciable attention from the
GIScience community due to the appeal of a more open and equitable data
source in comparison with traditional forms of geographic information.
Despite this value however, this purely grassroots ‘gold standard’ ideal
for VGI may restrict its use for scientific inquiry or decision-making
purposes. An emerging sub-literature is exploring the value in broadening
this conceptualization, including *facilitated VGI* (Cinnamon & Schuurman,
2012; Seeger, 2008), harvested or *ambient geospatial information*
 (Stefanidis* et al.*, 2011), *involuntary geographic information* (Fischer,
2012), and *hybrid authoritative/asserted data collection* (Connors* et al.*,
2012; Goodchild, 2009). This session will explore the tensions between a
purely grassroots ideal of VGI/citizen data, versus the potential presented
by broader conceptualizations.

** **

Potential topics for this session include, but are not limited to the
·      The benefits and drawbacks of current conceptualizations of VGI.
·      The potential effects of expanding our conceptualizations of
‘volunteered’ data.
·      Emerging approaches: facilitated VGI; hybrid
(asserted/authoritative) data; involuntary/ambient geographic information,
·      Building approaches as part of a larger ‘user-generated geographic
information’ (UGGI).
·      Challenges: data ownership, citizen volunteer recruitment, ethical
concerns, etc.

** **

In this session we invite participants to share their experiences and ideas
concerning the theoretical and practical implications of an expanded
conceptualization of VGI and related citizen data efforts. If you are
interested in participating in this session, please send your proposed
paper title and AAG abstracts (250 words) to Jonathan Cinnamon jca80 at or
Britta Ricker bricker at by September 14. This session will be
part of #GEO/CODE
2013: Geoweb, Big Data and Society <> organized by the new
mappings collaboratory <>.
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