The main objective of the Action is to build an open and flexible VGI European network of scholars, young researchers and industry representatives who will share their experiences in order to transform user generated information into exploitable data. The means foreseen will be:

  1. develop common data mining software and methodologies that can exploit a wide range of VGI source (such as mapping efforts, photographs, social messaging, etc.) and can be applied in a variety of fields (environment, crisis management, advertising, tourism, etc.);
  2. definition of quality assessment criteria (positioning, ontology, source identification, etc.);
  3. establish an open and updatable repository of VGI analysis and integration tools and methods, literature and case studies
  4. develop cultural and contextual analysis methods of VGI that will help researchers in understanding the local aspects of VGI datasets and their use.

The means to achieve the objectives are: annual meetings, workshops, short term scholar mobility, annual training schools, focus groups for policy makers and entrepreneurs, and the creation of an online VGI gateway, blogging and microblogging. The main deliverables will be: reports of the Action’s progress (annual working papers and reports); annual monitoring reports and final evaluation; publications of WGs’ results in special issues of journals; publication of an open source repository online and updatable of technical tools to facilitate the use and exploitation of VGI; publication of a comprehensive final report including the main outcomes, policy recommendations and research agendas to be used also for future proposals; a VGI gateway; blogging and microblogging.

As secondary objectives, the Action will continue to play a supporting role for:

  • Research community implementation;
  • Increase the international standing of European research in this area.
  • Transfer knowledge to the scientific community and practitioners.
  • Draw lessons from VGI’s applications for policy recommendation;
  • Identify future research agendas;
  • Educational for graduate and doctoral students.

The Action aims at becoming the main reference point for European research in the field of VGI. This in turn would facilitate the launch of further collaborations and joint focused activities within the European community and with non-European entities working on the same field. The Action will become a think tank for researchers, and a hub for VGI and related activities in the area.

The means needed to achieve the Action’s objectives regard: human resources, equipment and funding. Human resources are needed to undertake duties in the following areas: scientific (knowledge exchange, participating in workshops, developing and testing outputs); administrative (scientific secretary, webmaster, organization of meetings and exchanges, network management); editorial (analysis of results, drafting and distribution of recommendations).

In particular, the objectives of this Action will be achieved by a cooperative and interactive environment where scientists and researchers from academia, industry and research centres will be allowed to meet and exchange their ideas and experiences. This environment will involve:

  • Scholars, who will dedicate manpower to the provision of lectures at Training Schools, and to attending the WG meetings; they will bring their experiences in VGI and select the activities within their research portfolios better tuned to the objectives of this Action;
  • PhD students and early career researchers, who will bring new and disrupting ideas to discuss, spending part of their manpower in attending the WG meetings and preparing the Action’s outputs where their research results will be harmonised to those of the other Action participants; moreover, they might contribute to shared visions by dedicating effort to the Action through the performance of STSMs;
  • Representatives from industry, who will bring experienced contributions in the form of VGI applications for commercial transfer;
  • Equipment at the institutions’ premises that will be made available by participants (spatial database servers, analysis packages that are suitable for geographical and spatial information, computers, GPS enabled phones to test out VGI tools);
  • Databases and software developed by the Action participants and made available to other researchers;

The Action will invest in training PhD students and ESRs, thus ensuring proper renewal of the participants’ skills. Moreover, the Action will foster participation of scientists and researchers from new institutions and firms, by organising joint events with other projects and through the various dissemination activities mentioned in Section H.

The main skills required are in the field of: geocomputing, spatial analysis, geography, spatial data quality, spatial databases, image analysis, Web technologies, Web data formats, Web services, Web usability (HCI, human computer interaction), information retrieval, knowledge discovery and data mining, integration of unstructured spatial data.