The Evolution of Geo-Crowdsourcing: Bringing Volunteered Geographic Information to the Third Dimension

  • Marcus GoetzEmail author
  • Alexander Zipf


Volunteered geographic information (VGI) describes the collaborative and voluntary collection of any kind of spatial data, and has evolved to become an important source for geo-information. Users participate in VGI communities and share their data with other community members at no charge. The data is based on personal measurements or personal knowledge, as well as on available aerial imagery provided by Bing Maps etc. In the early beginnings, VGI comprised only two-dimensional (2D) data, but now more and more users also contribute 3D-compliant data such as height information. By utilizing such 3D information or 3D-VGI, it is possible to create virtual but increasingly realistic 3D map features and models that can be compared to products such as Google Earth. In this chapter, the evolution of VGI from 2D to 3D is discussed. In particular, the creation of a 3D virtual globe including visualization of 3D building models as well as traffic infrastructure, landuse areas, and points of interest (POIs) is reviewed. Additional data sources and the semantic enrichment of virtual models are also discussed. Crowdsourced geodata can serve as a real alternative data source and VGI can be utilized for generating rich 3D city models.


Digital Terrain Model Volunteer Geographic Information Height Information Building Footprint Virtual Globe 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank all members of the chair of GIScience for their proofreading and helpful hints and all contributors to the project. Additionally, we would like to thank our intern Daniel Söder for creating the screenshots of OSM-3D scenes for this chapter. This research has been partially funded by the Klaus-Tschira Foundation (KTS) Heidelberg.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GIScience research groupUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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