The potential for using volunteered geographic information in pervasive health computing applications

Original Research


Volunteered geographic information (VGI), or geospatial crowdsourcing, is where citizens (volunteers) contribute data and information about the earth and environment that is explicitly or implicitly georeferenced and then disseminated via collaborative projects such as OpenStreetMap or social media such as Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook. VGI popularity is due in no small part to citizens making use of consumer devices, such as smartphones, to collect increasingly precise locational information and other environmental information. In this paper we describe the potential for using VGI in pervasive health computing applications. Pervasive health computing strives to provide healthcare (services or information) to anyone, at anytime, and anywhere by removing constraints of time and location. We use the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project as a case–study of a very successful VGI project. We analyse the strengths of OSM, its current applicability to pervasive health computing, and if it is a sustainable option for use as a source of spatial information for pervasive computing technologies, particularly in areas where access to information on healthcare services is limited or difficult. The paper closes by summarizing the advantages and challenges of VGI integration into pervasive health computing and outlining some of the key issues where further cross-disciplinary research is required.


OpenStreetMap Pervasive health computing VGI and citizens 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Mooney
    • 1
  • Padraig Corcoran
    • 2
  • Blazej Ciepluch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNUI MaynoothCo. KildareIreland
  2. 2.School of Informatics and Computer Science University College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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