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How Many Volunteers Does it Take to Map an Area Well? The Validity of Linus' Law to Volunteered Geographic Information

Haklay, M; Basiouka, S; Antoniou, V; Ather, A; (2010) How Many Volunteers Does it Take to Map an Area Well? The Validity of Linus' Law to Volunteered Geographic Information. CARTOGR J , 47 (4) 315 - 322. 10.1179/000870410X12911304958827. Green open access

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Abstract

In the area of volunteered geographical information (VGI), the issue of spatial data quality is a clear challenge. The data that are contributed to VGI projects do not comply with standard spatial data quality assurance procedures, and the contributors operate without central coordination and strict data collection frameworks. However, similar to the area of open source software development, it is suggested that the data hold an intrinsic quality assurance measure through the analysis of the number of contributors who have worked on a given spatial unit. The assumption that as the number of contributors increases so does the quality is known as 'Linus' Law' within the open source community. This paper describes three studies that were carried out to evaluate this hypothesis for VGI using the OpenStreetMap dataset, showing that this rule indeed applies in the case of positional accuracy.

Type:Article
Title:How Many Volunteers Does it Take to Map an Area Well? The Validity of Linus' Law to Volunteered Geographic Information
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.1179/000870410X12911304958827
Keywords:volunteered geographical information, OpenStreetMap, Linus' Law, spatial data quality, positional accuracy, OPENSTREETMAP, SCIENCE
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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