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How good is volunteered geographical information? A comparative study of OpenStreetMap and Ordnance Survey datasets

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  • Mordechai Haklay

Abstract

Within the framework of Web 2.0 mapping applications, the most striking example of a geographical application is the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project. OSM aims to create a free digital map of the world and is implemented through the engagement of participants in a mode similar to software development in Open Source projects. The information is collected by many participants, collated on a central database, and distributed in multiple digital formats through the World Wide Web. This type of information was termed ‘Volunteered Geographical Information’ (VGI) by Goodchild, 2007. However, to date there has been no systematic analysis of the quality of VGI. This study aims to fill this gap by analysing OSM information. The examination focuses on analysis of its quality through a comparison with Ordnance Survey (OS) datasets. The analysis focuses on London and England, since OSM started in London in August 2004 and therefore the study of these geographies provides the best understanding of the achievements and difficulties of VGI. The analysis shows that OSM information can be fairly accurate: on average within about 6 m of the position recorded by the OS, and with approximately 80% overlap of motorway objects between the two datasets. In the space of four years, OSM has captured about 29% of the area of England, of which approximately 24% are digitised lines without a complete set of attributes. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings to the study of VGI as well as suggesting future research directions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mordechai Haklay, 2010. "How good is volunteered geographical information? A comparative study of OpenStreetMap and Ordnance Survey datasets," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(4), pages 682-703, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:37:y:2010:i:4:p:682-703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karst T Geurs & Bert van Wee & Piet Rietveld, 2006. "Accessibility appraisal of integrated land-use – transport strategies: methodology and case study for the Netherlands Randstad area," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(5), pages 639-660, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shiwei Lu & Shih-Lung Shaw & Zhixiang Fang & Xirui Zhang & Ling Yin, 2017. "Exploring the Effects of Sampling Locations for Calibrating the Huff Model Using Mobile Phone Location Data," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Votsis, Athanasios, 2017. "Planning for green infrastructure: The spatial effects of parks, forests, and fields on Helsinki's apartment prices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 279-289.
    3. Massimiliano Pittore & Marc Wieland & Kevin Fleming, 2017. "Perspectives on global dynamic exposure modelling for geo-risk assessment," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 86(1), pages 7-30, March.
    4. Czembrowski, Piotr & Kronenberg, Jakub & Czepkiewicz, Michał, 2016. "Integrating non-monetary and monetary valuation methods – SoftGIS and hedonic pricing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 166-175.
    5. Christian Geiß & Anne Schauß & Torsten Riedlinger & Stefan Dech & Cecilia Zelaya & Nicolás Guzmán & Mathías A. Hube & Jamal Jokar Arsanjani & Hannes Taubenböck, 2017. "Joint use of remote sensing data and volunteered geographic information for exposure estimation: evidence from Valparaíso, Chile," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 86(1), pages 81-105, March.
    6. Duncan Light & Craig Young, 2015. "Toponymy as Commodity: Exploring the Economic Dimensions of Urban Place Names," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 435-450, May.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:997-:d:101040 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Heidrun Zeug & Gunter Zeug & Conrad Bielski & Gloria Solano-Hermosilla & Robert M’barek, 2017. "Innovative Food Price Collection in Developing Countries. Focus on Crowdsourcing in Africa," JRC Working Papers JRC103294, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    9. Zhao, Pengxiang & Jia, Tao & Qin, Kun & Shan, Jie & Jiao, Chenjing, 2015. "Statistical analysis on the evolution of OpenStreetMap road networks in Beijing," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 420(C), pages 59-72.

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