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Open AccessArticle

Amateur or Professional: Assessing the Expertise of Major Contributors in OpenStreetMap Based on Contributing Behaviors

1,2,*, 2,* and 1
College of Electronic Science and Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China
Geoinformatics Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Heidelberg, Berliner Street 48, Heidelberg D-69120, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(2), 21;
Received: 3 November 2015 / Revised: 25 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 22 February 2016
PDF [5957 KB, uploaded 22 February 2016]


Volunteered geographic information (VGI) projects, such as OpenStreetMap (OSM), provide an alternative way to produce geographic data. Research has proven that the resulting data in some areas are of decent quality, which guarantees their usability in various applications. Though these achievements are normally attributed to the huge heterogeneous community mainly consisting of amateurs, it is in fact a small percentage of major contributors who make nearly all contributions. In this paper, we investigate the contributing behaviors of these contributors to deduce whether they are actually professionals. Various indicators are used to depict the behaviors on three themes: practice, skill and motivation, aiming to identify solid evidence for expertise. Our case studies show that most major contributors in Germany, France and the United Kingdom are hardly amateurs, but are professionals instead. These contributors have rich experiences on geographical data editing, have a decent grasp of professional software and work on the project with enthusiasm and concentration. It is less unexpected that they can create geographic data of high quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: volunteered geographic information; OpenStreetMap; expertise; behavior volunteered geographic information; OpenStreetMap; expertise; behavior

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Yang, A.; Fan, H.; Jing, N. Amateur or Professional: Assessing the Expertise of Major Contributors in OpenStreetMap Based on Contributing Behaviors. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 21.

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