Facilitating Volunteered Geographic Information Through SDI Policy Frameworks

GSDI 12 World Conference, 19 to 22 October 2010, Singapore

Kevin McDougall

“Although the momentum for the application and integration of volunteered geographic information continues to grow, the institutional inertia within government environments has yet to empower the users to participate as partners in future SDI development. This paper will review current SDI policy frameworks and trace the developments that have occurred in recent years, particularly the progressive move from top down national approaches towards the bottom up SDI developments. Existing policy frameworks vary significantly in their attitude towards the user, although a primary purpose of SDI is to facilitate the access to spatial data for potential users and the wider community. The conditions required to both facilitate and inhibit volunteered spatial information will be explored and a comparative analysis against existing policy frameworks will be undertaken. In particular, the heavy reliance of volunteered geographic information on a suitable information access framework and the ability of existing SDIs to incorporate user generated information within their data models will be examined. The conditions that facilitate collaboration for the sharing of data within a business environment such as trust, sharing of benefits, a shared value of the data and clear partner responsibilities also exist within the volunteered geographic information environment. These conditions will be explored in the context of a user and a SDI custodian agency. Changes to existing policy frameworks that are more sympathetic to user driven approaches will be presented and their possible implication discussed.”