, Volume 72, Issue 3–4, pp 137–148 | Cite as

The credibility of volunteered geographic information

  • Andrew J. FlanaginEmail author
  • Miriam J. Metzger


The proliferation of information sources as a result of networked computers and other interconnected devices has prompted significant changes in the amount, availability, and nature of geographic information. Among the more significant changes is the increasing amount of readily available volunteered geographic information. Although volunteered information has fundamentally enhanced geographic data, it has also prompted concerns with regard to its quality, reliability, and overall value. This essay situates these concerns as issues of information and source credibility by (a) examining the information environment fostering collective information contribution, (b) exploring the environment of information abundance, examining credibility and related notions within this environment, and leveraging extant research findings to understand user-generated geographic information, (c) articulating strategies to discern the credibility of volunteered geographic information (VGI), including relevant tools useful in this endeavor, and (d) outlining specific research questions germane to VGI and credibility.


Volunteered geographic information VGI Credibility User-generated content Social computing Information trust 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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