Maps and the Internet

Connected and Crowdsourced

5101.2 - VGS: Design and Implementation of a Multi-Channel, Multi-Purpose Participatory Mapping Platform

Wednesday, July 5
8:50 AM - 9:10 AM
Location: Delaware A

Due to the spread of smartphones —usually equipped with GPS, cameras and mobile Internet connection— anyone can create geographical information, the so-called Volunteered Geographic information (VGI). The main benefit of VGI is the enormous speed at which geographical data can be collected. Moreover, it can be gathered at a very low cost and provides in the end a very wide spectrum. Furthermore, VGI can fill gaps that are usually not covered in traditional maps, since only locals can provide certain information.
Nowadays different projects and platforms use VGI in multiple manners and for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from daily use to scientific applications. VGI as a form of participatory mapping provides a bottom-up approach for the creation of geographical information and is a step towards the democratization of mapping.
One of the many fields in which it is successfully used is disaster management. Populations across the world face different kind of disasters and crises every year. Nevertheless, due to the spread of smartphones, emergency response forces can significantly act faster than a decade ago. By providing rapidly big amounts of geographical information, VGI enables helpers to get a live map on the crisis. Nevertheless, in such emergencies, one of the crucial impediments of VGI becomes evident: the requirement of an Internet connection. Lack of Internet is a reality in most developing countries, becoming more frequent if not permanent during crises. Another problem of many VGI-Projects is that they focus mainly on collecting information, but miss the opportunity to give users functions for mutual help.
The present work proves the technical feasibility for a new participatory mapping platform that overcomes the necessity of Internet. Moreover, it enables a user-friendly collaboration between participants of different origins, social statuses and degrees of expertise, by incorporating the new concept of Volunteered Geographic Services (VGS).
The followed methodology can be divided in four phases. The first one is the conceptualization of the multi-tier platform, based on the objectives and three use cases. The second phase is the implementation of a sample platform, followed by the third phase: a multi-stage public testing procedure. The fourth and final phase consisted on reviewing and documenting the feedback.
The developed concept and working principle behind the implemented platform was influenced by two innovations, the thesaurus approach and the incorporation of the concept of Volunteered Geographic Services (VGS).
The final product of this work is an evaluated sample participatory mapping platform, with a versatile Android application as the main component, which allows users to provide spatial participatory information via Internet and, more important, SMS. In the end, the final platform is usable worldwide and for different purposes, such as disaster management, participatory mapping or exchange of items and micro-services, e.g. providing a shovel or repairing a bulb in a school within a community.

Georg Dilk

University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart

Georg Dilk was always fascinated for maps and geography, a passion that has been strengthened during his studies. His academic career started with the undergraduate program "Surveying and Geoinformatics" in Germany. During this period, he spent one year as an affiliate student at the University College London, which is considered the third best British university. Georg Dilk is a recent and awarded graduate of the master program "Photogrammetry and Geoinformatics". His professional interest focuses on Web and Mobile GIS.


Send Email for Georg Dilk

Franz-Josef Behr

Full time Professor of Spatial Information Processing
Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences

Before returning to academia at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences Prof. Dr. Behr worked as a senior consultant, supporting the introduction of Geographical Information Systems, and the design and implementation of spatial databases for municipalities and supply companies. He published two GIS text books and more than 50 scientific papers. He is very interested in continuing education and in internationalization of education. He is member of the German Organisation for Standardization and active supporter of Open Source and Open Data. In 2009 he co-founded the AGSE conferences, an interdisciplinary, international forum for sharing knowledge about the application of Geoinformatics with focus on application and on developing countries. He ic co-chair of ICA's Commission on SDI and Standards and volunteered as Co-chair of the Academic Tracks at FOSS4G 2013, FOSS4G 2014, and FOSS4G 2016. At ICC 2017 he is part of the scientific committee.


Send Email for Franz-Josef Behr

Send Email for Pyry Kettunen


5101.2 - VGS: Design and Implementation of a Multi-Channel, Multi-Purpose Participatory Mapping Platform

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for VGS: Design and Implementation of a Multi-Channel, Multi-Purpose Participatory Mapping Platform