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The epistemology(s) of volunteered geographic information: a critique

Sieber, RE; Haklay, M; (2015) The epistemology(s) of volunteered geographic information: a critique. Geo: Geography and Environment , 2 (2) pp. 122-136. 10.1002/geo2.10. Green open access

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Abstract

Numerous exegeses have been written about the epistemologies of volunteered geographic information (VGI). We contend that VGI is itself a socially constructed epistemology crafted in the discipline of geography, which when re-examined, does not sit comfortably with either GIScience or critical GIS scholarship. Using insights from Albert Borgmann's philosophy of technology we offer a critique that, rather than appreciating the contours of this new form of data, truth appears to derive from traditional analytic views of information found within GIScience. This is assisted by structures that enable VGI to be treated as independent of the process that led to its creation. Allusions to individual emancipation further hamper VGI and problematise participatory practices in mapping/geospatial technologies (e.g. public participation geographic information systems). The paper concludes with implications of this epistemological turn and prescriptions for designing systems and advancing the field to ensure nuanced views of participation within the core conceptualisation of VGI.

Type: Article
Title: The epistemology(s) of volunteered geographic information: a critique
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/geo2.10
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/geo2.10
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Geo: Geography and Environment published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Keywords: volunteered geographical information (VGI); crowdsourcing; epistemology; geographical information
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1478413
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