Spaces of Volunteered Geographic Information

Authored by: Ate Poorthuis , Matthew Zook

The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409444015
eBook ISBN: 9781315613178
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042822


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Open any recent geography article or book that discusses the Internet and you will find the opening sentences replete with the terms new, change, proliferation and recent. Apparently, something is brewing in digital space that makes geographers very excited. Clichés aside, it is clear that many of the most recent additions to the online world (e.g. Google Maps, Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Twitter) represent important changes to how we can think about spatial information and mapping practice as well as provide new ways for us to use and understand the space and places around us. Since this is a relatively recent phenomenon, there are a number of competing names for this process, including volunteered geographic information (VGI), neogeography, and the geoweb. While each term differs in what issues it emphasizes, they all seek to characterize the emerging and evolving ways in which space and place are practiced in the twenty-first century. While we are not entirely satisfied with any single term, we will use VGI in this chapter as it has the virtue of being an early, and thus widely used, term.

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