Team Meeting Year 3 Kick Off

Our annual team meeting happened this year, May 18 -19, 2011, at Ryerson University following the GEOIDE Scientific Conference. Twenty students and network investigators attended as well as guests from the GEOIDE Network. The objective was to provide a space for our team to update each other on projects and at the same time establish our goals for the coming year. All nodes were well represented and participated in a fruitful review of team-wide accomplishments. We were able to identify significant findings that apply across the nodes. Here is a list of some of our top findings:

1)    Community groups are more likely to contribute and use VGI compared to the institutional or government level. Higher levels are willing to participate through using community groups as an experiment due to less liability and certain obligations for accessibility of their own data.

2)    Government adoption of the Geoweb is enabled or disabled by the level of data verification desired.

3)    Geoweb tools currently mismatch with current processes and may require a new approach. Consider that many of these emergent tools are being applied to status quo and existing structures and processes. (ex. city planning procedures).

4)    The Geoweb may have a global scope of viewers but hyper-local contributors. Most of the contributors are local even when there is large number of transient persons visiting the location. Related to Nama’s finding in OSM-pride of place sustains contributions.  However, others feel it is more about belonging to a community of interest (space), rather that a specific place, dictated by geographic boundaries.

5)    Geoweb promises simplicity and little training, the reality is it is complex to develop functional tools and to use them.

6)    Volunteer users tend to be of a certain demographic; mode of interaction is hard-wired.

7)    There is a need to increase spatial literacy. Geoweb allows for a social network of peer to peer training and current platforms encourage innovation. Reality is many groups require offline training to enable VGI contributions.

8)    Citizen science needs to be as good as expert science, to be used in decision-making. Attempts to do this include mitigating the approach to VGI, such as identification questions or expert verifications of wildlife sightings (ex. nlnature or biology atlas).

A central priority, identified before the meeting was to establish a publication plan for the year. Day 2 focused on a writing workshop to enable the forming of manuscripts across the team. The themes identified were:

1) Best practices to promote engagement; design principles; outcomes;

lessons learned (e.g. sustainability)

2) Social evolution of projects (e.g. expectations, ownership of users)

3) How do we evaluate tools & projects (methods framework); citizen

"science" on the Geoweb; data quality on the Geoweb.

4) Variations in user communities; who is the user; leadership within


5) Toolbox for addressing challenges in spatial literacy; examples of

when challenges occur.

6) Typology of technological development.

These themes guided the process of developing the paper outlines with the researchers grouped in appropriate authorship teams. Year 3 will continue with follow-up conference calls and work on these publications. It is a busy and exciting year ahead for GEOIDE Team 41.