2012 Workshop Report

The First ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Crowdsourced and Volunteered Geographic Information (GEOCROWD) was held in conjunction with the 20th ACM SIGSPATIAL GIS Conference in Redondo Beach, CA on November 6, 2012.

The workshop was a great success in that it not only attracted a considerable number of submissions (20), but also a significant number of registrations (27) and actual workshop participants (+30).

The scientific program included a unique keynote address by one of the recognized experts in the field and a considerable number of presentations addressing topics ranging from data mining social media content, qualitative spatial data, privacy, and tools to support VGI collection efforts.

We were fortunate to attract an internationally known researcher to open the workshop. Don Cooke from ESRI gave a keynote address on “Volunteered Geographic Information: Paths toward Authority”. As crowdsourced information in the form of Wikipedia has displaced the Encyclopedia Britannica as the authoritative source of knowledge about the universe and humankind, has asks whether the same can be done for Cartography? Will open-source maps ever surpass efforts by Rand McNally, Bartholomew, Michelin and National Mapping Agencies? He postulates that the answer is complicated, largely because there are so many different kinds of maps and spatial information serving a variety of purposes. His presentation reviewed and criticized current VGI activities by OSM, TomTom, Google and others in an attempt to identify nuggets of good practice within the triumphs and mistakes of various practitioners over the brief history of this endeavor.

The scientific program offered 12 full paper contributions selected from 20 submissions with the help of 19 reviewers and several additional external referees. The presentations were organized in the following three sessions: (1) Data Mining User-Generated Content, (2) Qualitative and Semantic Data, and (3) Tools, Models, and Privacy.

Based on scientific merit and the quality of the presentation, the following paper was recognized with the GEOCROWD best paper award:
Using Social Media to Find Places of Interest – A Case Study in London}. Steven Van Canneyt (Ghent University), Steven Schockaert (Cardiff University), Olivier Van Laere (Ghent University) and Bart Dhoedt (Ghent University).

At the end of the workshop, the participants were asked to contribute the concepts that they found memorable when following the workshop presentations. The following figure shows the generated “concept cloud”. Larger concepts were mentioned more frequently in the discussion.


Due to the great interest in the topic of the workshop, it is planned to organize a similar event again at next year’s ACM SIGSPATIAL GIS conference.

Finally, the organizers would like to thank the keynote speaker, authors, presenters, workshop participants, program committee members and workshop chairs for their work and contribution. Without their efforts the workshop would not have been such a successful event.