An Exploration of VGI In Use


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Presentation given at the 3rd Data Usability Workshop - Southampton

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  • VGI - the creation of geographic information by largely untrained volunteers

    Past Research into VGI Usability
    Aims and objectives of studying VGI & PGI
  • “How volunteered geographic information may be combined with professional geographic information to make applications of higher consumer usability”

    According to Wordle, these are the key words of my thesis so far
  • Previous work had looked into the relationship between the stakeholders in VGI
  • Wanted to move on from understanding stakeholders and start to understand information in use. Particularly what volunteered information users over and above professional information
  • Criteria created
    Applications from OS’s GeoVation scanned for potential communities
  • Kayakers were selected as a group which embodied the best of these properties
    Qualitative analysis– Focus Group
    Efficient technique
    Natural responses
    Focused on important topics
    Cost effective
    Wide range of views

  • 32 participants Over 4 Clubs
    9 Intermediate (1-4 years experience)
    23 expert (5 years + experience)

    So the study had two parts
  • degree of ethnographic research was undertaken,
    kayaking with the groups at least once before the focus groups.
    To fully understand and relate to the findings from the study
  • 2) Ran focus groups in order to acquire a wide range of view points
    Main body of research for this study
  • Open Coding – What is coming out of the data
    Grouping into Concepts – Asking questions of data as previous slide
    Applying sub-categorisation of Relevance (Barry & Schamber 1998), not shaping open codes, seeing how they relate to Relevance theory
  • Provides a ‘coding tree’ looking roughly like this
  • Now to run over some of the key findings from this study –
    Focusing on Data Usability
    Paper in progress for GISRUK 2011 which will include a broader overview
    Information in Use
    Information Sources
    Relation to planning process
    Relation to static and dynamic information

    Focusing today on the Results for Data Usability and touch on the Planning Process
    the following slides show some basic outcomes from work
    This graph shall be used to highlight phenomenon
    You may notice TANGABILITY (definite, proven information is provided; hard data or actual numbers are provided) is missing from the responses of participants
  • Talking about information to participants, not exclusively geographic information
    Yet information wasn’t about A weir, it was about THIS weir (VGLI – Volunteered Geo-Located Information)
    Shown in the data
  • Experience is the filter for all information taken in by this study]
    We see this in our data, how trust of personal experience, and the experience of other trusted kayakers is prevalent over authoritative information
  • This is mirrored by the Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) developed from the study to highlight the Planning Process
    These are the processes requiring volunteered or professional information for decisions to be made
  • As focusing on usability, only a snap shot of the overall picture
    Considering highly negative ‘Out of Date’ with highly positive ‘Up to Date’
    Easy to see how amateur volunteered and professional information compares
    One participant commented.....
  • Chart shows the number of responses made by participants when asked to comment on professional and volunteered information
    The major columns are as expected
    The minor columns are ‘incorrect’ perceptions (thinking something professional is actually volunteered, e.g. Forums)
    Where people say ‘volunteered’ when asked about ‘professional’ – sources are ‘unauthoritive’
    E.g. – Online kayaking forums/ Internet
    Where people say ‘professional’ when asked about volunteered – sources are ‘authoritative’
    E.g. – BCU Local Access Officer (LAO)
  • Discussion points
    - What do you think of VGLI
  • An Exploration of VGI In Use

    1. 1. An Exploration of VGI in Use Christopher J. Parker 3rd Workshop on Data Usability 10th November 2010
    2. 2. 2
    3. 3. 3
    4. 4. Aims of Study 4  Highlight the different stages in the process life cycle of the users’ activities where information is utilised with benefit to the user.  Understand what makes volunteered information different from professional information when used in a real world situation.  Determine how using volunteered or professional information affects on the outcomes of activities it when it is used.  Explore under what conditions volunteered information may provide unique opportunities to the user over and above that of professional information.
    5. 5. Selecting Group 5 Hill Walkers Surfers Kayakers Utilises geographic information as central to the activity Yes Yes Yes Use of ‘dynamic information’ - Yes Yes Requires information not covered by ‘traditional’ cartography - Yes Yes Use a wide variety of information sources Yes Yes Yes Cover a wide variety of experience levels and abilities Yes Yes Yes Good inter-community links and shares information with community (e.g. web forums) Yes Yes Yes Has the potential for VGI to enrich their activity above and beyond professional information Unknown Unknown Unknown Consists of a number of different activities rather than one phenomenon - - Yes Work in social groups rather than solo pursuit of activity Yes - Yes Easy access to groups, active activities within 50 miles of Loughborough - - Yes
    6. 6. 6
    7. 7. 7
    8. 8. 8 Loughborough
    9. 9. 9
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. 11 Relevance: •Depth •Accuracy •Clarity •Currency •Tangibility •Quality of source •Accessibility •Availability •Verification •Affectiveness (Barry, Schamber 1998) •Source •Planning process •Types of information •Data usability •Role in activities •Role in outcome •Dynamic/ static information
    12. 12. 12
    13. 13. How To Not Get Distracted By ‘Interface’ 13  Asked about what sources and how they are used  Mainly focused on how information makes a difference  Delivery method of interest  How are Volunteered delivery methods different to professional  Trust is a relationship between provider and consumer  Did not focus Axial coding on interface
    14. 14. 14
    15. 15. 15
    16. 16. Currency, Depth & Scope and Quality of the information are the three most relevant factors when searching for information. 16
    17. 17. Data usability has a clear geographical element (i.e. both time and place are important). 17
    18. 18. The data needs, and the usefulness of data to individuals is dependent on the level of experience that the end users had with the kayaking application domain. 18
    19. 19. 19 (Preece et al., 2002)
    20. 20. Usable data often has a temporal aspect, such that the usefulness of data often ‘decayed’ within a time window of opportunity. A good example of this is water levels affecting the ‘paddleability’ of the river. 20 What maps and guidebooks don’t give you is up to date information. Just because it was a good guide to the river five years ago doesn’t mean it’s a good guide to the river now.
    21. 21. When questioned about professional and volunteered sources, participants tended to refer to sources they perceive as reliable and respectable as professional, despite their volunteer contribution base. 21
    22. 22. Future Research 22  Study 3  Ethnographic Research  Exploratory to support discussion of Study 2 findings  Discussion & Theory Generation  Study 4  Testing Theory  Disabled Travellers (?)
    23. 23. 23
    24. 24. References 24 Barry, C.L. & Schamber, L. 1998, "Users' criteria for relevance evaluation: a cross-situational comparison", Information processing & management, vol. 34, no. 2- 3, pp. 219-236. Goodchild, M. F. (2007). Citizens as sensors: The world of volunteered geography. GeoJournal, 69(4), 211-221. Preece, J., Rogers, Y., & Sharpe, H. (2002). Interaction design: Beyond human-computer interaction. United States of America: John Wiley & Sons.