Title: Citizens as Sensors for Natural Hazards: A VGI integration Workflow
Citation: Geomatica vol. 64 no. 1 p. 41-59
Publisher: Canadian Institute of Geomatics
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC52420
ISSN: 1195-1036
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC52420
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Recent advances of the Internet, often subsumed under the term Web 2.0, have led to an unprecedented increase of contents created by non-specialist users. The term Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is now commonly used when such user-generated contents have an explicit reference to a geographic location. VGI has significant potential as a timely and cost-effective means to enhance our overall understanding of the Earth. However, integrating VGI into specialist-driven Information Systems is a major challenge, as it is often regarded as insufficiently structured, documented or validated. In this paper, we address the research question of how credibility in VGI can be increased, so that it becomes a valuable resource, within domains such as natural hazards. This is done by proposing a generic workflow that uses prior information about the phenomenon of interest and reasoning techniques to improve the reliability of the VGI; thus creating a useful source for scientific and technical investigation. This workflow has been developed for a particular case study: the use of pictures from the photo-sharing portal Flickr as a ¿signal¿ that allows the pinpointing recent flood events in the United Kingdom. A comparison of the workflow¿s output with independent information provided by scientists and journalists about these floods is also presented in order to uncover some of the strengths and weaknesses of VGI in our case study. We conclude that the proposed workflow allows VGI to be turned into a reliable data source.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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