Workshop report - Crowdsourcing in National Mapping (2018)

This workshop report presents the highlights of the EuroSDR workshop Crowdsourcing in National Mapping which took place in April 2017 in Leuven, Belgium.
crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, VGI

The usage of crowdsourced geographic data and information and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) by National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies (NMCA) and the Geomatics Industry is a very current, challenging and topical subject. Many NMCAs in Europe are actively using these sources of spatial data within their processes and workflows in the production, management and distribution of national geographical data and associated products. One of the major obstacles in the wider adoption or even investigation of crowdsourcing in national mapping results from the lack of collaborative projects or studies between the crowdsourcing community and the NMCAs. Wider scale collaboration has not happened. This report outlines the outcomes from a workshop “Crowdsourcing in National Mapping” organised and held in Leuven, Belgium in April 2017, and funded by EuroSDR. The workshop follows on from a similar, inaugural event, held in Nottingham, UK in 2013, also co-funded by EuroSDR. The overarching goal of this workshop event in 2017 was to bring crowdsourcing projects from the spatial domain, academics/researchers, SMEs and NMCAs together for 1.5 days of debate, discussion, planning, networking and collaboration on ways to move forward in more integrated approaches to Crowdsourcing in National Mapping in Europe.

The report outlines a number of key outcomes for the stakeholders involved. EuroSDR should consider providing funding to ensure future workshops of this type take place. This will help ensure all stakeholders in this domain continue to interact, collaborate and learn from each other. In particular academic research could provide an important future role in understanding how crowdsourcing and VGI is affected by policy changes such as GDPR. The answer to how the Crowdsourcing communities and NCMAs can work together will emerge from further understanding how to define the role of NCMAs into the future. There is also still much work left to do in understanding the legal and ethical frameworks for working with VGI/Crowdsourcing from the NMCA perspective. Finally, a clear opportunity for VGI/Crowdsourcing going forward is identifying niche or new data streams to focus on.