AAG 2010 session on ‘Convergence in the GeoWeb’

I am co-organizing (with Barbara Poore from the United States Geological Survey) the following session in the Association of American Geographers’ meeting in Washington DC, April 2010. Encouraged by scholars’ expression of interest, we are now organizing two sessions, instead of one we originally thought. We are also discussing to bring out a journal special issue or edited book from these sessions. Do not hesitate to write to me or Barbara, if you are working in this area!

Session Title: Convergence in the GeoWeb: Volunteered geographic information, spatial data infrastructure, and public participation GIS

Description: The GeoWeb has enabled humans to create and share unprecedented amounts of geographic information. Cities are becoming self-describing. Multiple sources of information from field-based sensors, web services, digital photographs, videos, and user conversations are accessible through mobile devices as one moves about. A single map can have many media incarnations as it travels from a database to a web page through social networking discussions and back again. No longer the passive recipients of geographic information from national mapping agencies and the professional GIS community, ordinary citizens are busy mashing up, remixing, and spawning new geographic information. What do these developments mean? Are national mapping agencies and their initiatives on spatial data infrastructures becoming obsolete? Are they being replaced by citizen map makers, or is citizen participation in the GeoWeb just an anarchy, as some claim? We believe that it is not an EITHER-OR. The premise of the session is that there is a natural convergence between volunteered geographic information (VGI), spatial data infrastructure (SDI), and public participation GIS (PPGIS) based on the transformation of users into makers.

This session will explore the idea of users as makers of data, information and knowledge in the GeoWeb. We welcome papers on GeoWeb-enabled systems of geographic information with particular emphasis on the convergence of VGI, SDI and PPGIS, and how these different movements can supplement one another rather than stand in opposition.


Barbara Poore, United States Geological Survey (bspoore@usgs.gov)
Nama Budhathoki, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (nbudhat2@illinois.edu)

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