Shifting Boundaries of Volunteered Geographic Information Systems and Modalities: Learning from PGIS
AbstractThis paper develops a framework for assessing how Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI) systems, modalities and practices perform, as measured against principles of good governance and participation; the framework is applied to two case studies. From this, we argue for a shift towards recognising, valuing and incorporating into VGI, the values of participatory processes which are the essence of PGIS (Participatory GIS). We firstly over-view the current range of handling citizen’s local (spatial) knowledge in VGI by identifying two foundational drivers, which are: the recognition of the value of vulgar local knowledge, and the acceleration of cyberspace communication capacities. Section 2 analyses VGI modalities and systems in terms of their characteristics and practices, in a frame of good governance principles and participatory process. In Section 3 this analytical framework is used in evaluating two specific cases in terms of governance and participation principles and practice. The paper concludes with needs and challenges about shifting the boundaries of VGI towards a deeper, more participatory construct of ‘vulgar grounded intelligence’.
 Without a consensus on a suitable overarching term for the set of approaches, systems, and modalities for acquiring citizens’ local (spatial) knowledge, we use the term VGI to also incorporate relevant UGC (user-generated content) systems.
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