We are happy to share Working Paper 6 of the Programmable City Project. This paper is related to a paper presented at the Internet Politics & Policy Conference,University of Oxford in September. Our objective was to pool grounded knowledge from our respective disciplines of geography and computer science, our public service experience at the EPA in Ireland and Natural Resources Canada, our mutual recognition that part of open data and open access is the production of data outside of the public service and that users can contribute excellent information, and more so that public engagement in evidence based decision making makes us all smarter. We hope this working paper will be useful to the public sector in Ireland and Canada, as we think this could be a mechanism by which citizens can contribute to public policy in collaboration with government while also enabling government to continue to be accountable and the purveyor of reliable, accurate and authentic knowledge.
The full paper can be downloaded from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Tracey P. Lauriault, Programmable City Project, National University of Ireland Maynooth
Peter Mooney, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Computer Science National University of Ireland Maynooth
In this paper we examine three geographic crowdsourcing models, namely: volunteered geographic information (VGI), citizen science (CS) and participatory mapping (PM) (Goodchild, 2007; Audubon Society, 1900; and Peluso, 1995). We argue that these geographic knowledge producing practices can be adopted by governments to keep databases up to date (Budhathoki et al., 2008), to gain insight about natural resources (Conrad and Hilchey, 2011), to better understand the socio-economy of the people it governs (Johnston and Sieber, 2013) and as a form of data-based public engagement. The paper will be useful to governments and public agencies considering using geographic crowdsourcing in the future. We begin by defining VGI, CS, PM and crowdsourcing. Two typologies are then offered as methods to conceptualize these practices and the Kitchin (2014) data assemblage framework is proposed as a method by which state actors can critically examine their data infrastructures. A selection of exemplary VGI, CS and PM from Canada and the Republic of Ireland are discussed and the paper concludes with some high level recommendations for administrations considering a geographic approach to crowdsourcing.
Keywords: Volunteered Geographic Information, VGI, Citizen Science, Participatory Mapping, Crowdsourcing, Open Data, Public Engagement, Government Administration