Volunteered Geographic Information research in the first decade: a narrative review of selected journal articles in GIScience

More than 10 years have passed since the coining of the term volunteered geographic information (VGI) in 2007. A recently published article presents the results of a review of the literature concerning VGI.
A total of 346 articles published in 24 international refereed journals in GIScience between 2007 and 2017 have been reviewed. The review has uncovered varying levels of popularity of VGI research over space and time, and varying interests in various sources of VGI (e.g. OpenStreetMap) and VGI-related terms (e.g. user-generated content) that point to the multi-perspective nature of VGI.

Content-wise, using latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), this study has extracted 50 specific research topics pertinent to VGI. The 50 topics have been subsequently clustered into 13 intermediate topics and three overarching themes to allow a hierarchical topic review. The overarching VGI research themes include

(1) VGI contributions and contributors,

(2) main fields applying VGI, and

(3) conceptions and envisions.

The review of the articles under the three themes has revealed the progress and the points that demand attention regarding the individual topics. This article also discusses the areas that the existing research has not yet adequately explored and proposes an agenda for potential future research endeavors.

Several main points for further research discussed in the review include the strengthening of VGI quality assurance, streamlined large-scale, multiple-source, and multiple-purpose VGI handling and integration, VGI contributor studies, privacy protection, tools and methods for geospatial big data processing and analysis, applied VGI studies, sustainability of VGI applications, conceptual and theoretical underpinnings, and user empowerment.

Yan, Y., C. Feng, W. Huang, H. Fan, Y. Wang & A. Zipf (2020) Volunteered geographic information research in the first decade: a narrative review of selected journal articles in GIScience, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2020.1730848

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