We are co-organizing a workshop on data quality/credibility and volunteered geographic information (VGI) at the next GIScience conference.
Title: Role of Volunteer Geographic Information in Advancing Science: Quality and Credibility
Date and venue: September 18th 2012, Ohio State University, USA (GIScience 2012 conference)
Synopsis: Recent advancements in geospatial and cyber technologies, combined with a population that is well informed and interested in global issues, have cultivated an environment in which scientific research can potentially benefit significantly from the enormous volume of data that can be provided by citizens through their offering of volunteered geographic information (VGI). Social networks also provide a vast volume of VGI that can include observations (e.g. vegetation, critical infrastructures), measurements (e.g. temperature), and even personal perspectives and experiences in the form of images, videos, and text. However, the value of VGI is still largely limited to satisfying the intellectual curiosity of the common public. The critical challenge that faces the research and operational communities is to assess the quality of VGI by understanding and assessing its authenticity, validity, and uncertainty. Determining the most appropriate sources of data, promoting the involvement of those sources, acquiring accurate and useful information, assessing and communicating the accuracy of the data, and ultimately connecting these data with scientific research are key issues that need to be addressed in this context.