Volunteered Geographic Information : interpretation, visualisation and social computing (VGIscience)
In the past years Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) has emerged as a novel form of user-generated content, which involves active generation of geo-data for example in citizen science projects or during crisis mapping as well as the passive collection of data via the user’s location-enabled mobile devices. In addition there are more and more sensors available that detect our environment with ever greater detail and dynamics. These data can be used for a variety of applications, not only for the solution of societal tasks such as in environment, health or transport fields, but also for the development of commercial products and services. The interpretation, visualisation and usage of such multi-source data is challenging because of the large heterogeneity, the differences in quality, the high update frequencies, the varying spatial-temporal resolution, subjective characteristics and low semantic structuring. Therefore the German Research Foundation has launched a priority programme for the next 3–6 years which will support interdisciplinary research projects. This priority programme aims to provide a scientific basis for raising the potential of VGI- and sensor data. Research questions described more in detail in this short paper span from the extraction of spatial information, to the visual analysis and knowledge presentation, taking into account the social context while collecting and using VGI.