In recent months there has been an explosion of interest in using the Web to create, assemble, and disseminate geographic information provided voluntarily by individuals. Sites such as Wikimapia and OpenStreetMap are empowering citizens to create a global patchwork of geographic information, while Google Earth and other virtual globes are encouraging volunteers to develop interesting applications using their own data. In an article (Citizens as sensors: the world of volunteered geography) recently published on GeoJournal (November 2007) Michael F. Goodchild reviews this phenomenon, and examines associated issues: what drives people to do this, how accurate are the results, will they threaten individual privacy, and how can they augment more conventional sources? He compares this new phenomenon to more traditional citizen science and the role of the amateur in geographic observation.
Reference: Goodchild MF (2007). Citizens as sensors: the world of volunteered geography. GeoJournal (DOI 10.1007/s10708-007-9111-y)
Position paper presented by Dr. Goodchild at the Workshop on Volunteered Geographic Information, December 13-14, 2007, Santa Barbara, California, USA
All papers presented at the workshop are available via this link