This article sets forth the early phases of a methodological proposal for designing and developing Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) initiatives based on a system perspective analysis in which the components depend and interact dynamically among each other. First, it focuses on those characteristics of VGI projects that present different goals and modes of organization, while using a crowdsourcing strategy to manage participants and contributions. Next, a tool is developed in order to design the central crowdsourced processing unit
that is best suited for a specific project definition, associating it with a trend towards crowd-based
or community-driven approaches
. The design is structured around the characterization of different ways of participating, and the task cognitive demand of working on geo-information management, spatial problem solving and ideation, or knowledge acquisition. Then, the crowdsourcing process design helps to identify what kind of participants are needed and outline subsequent engagement strategies. This is based on an analysis of differences among volunteers’ participatory behaviors and the associated set of factors motivating them to contribute, whether on a crowd or community-sourced basis. From a VGI system perspective, this paper presents a set of guidelines and methodological steps in order to align project goals, processes and volunteers and thus successfully attract participation. This methodology helps establish the initial requirements for a VGI system, and, in its current state, it mainly focuses on two components of the system: project and participants.
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