Usability of VGI for validation of land cover maps

Cidália C. Fonte*, Lucy Bastin, Linda See, Giles Foody, Favio Lupia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) represents a growing source of potentially valuable data for many applications, including land cover map validation. It is still an emerging field and many different approaches can be used to take value from VGI, but also many pros and cons are related to its use. Therefore, since it is timely to get an overview of the subject, the aim of this article is to review the use of VGI as reference data for land cover map validation. The main platforms and types of VGI that are used and that are potentially useful are analysed. Since quality is a fundamental issue in map validation, the quality procedures used by the platforms that collect VGI to increase and control data quality are reviewed and a framework for addressing VGI quality assessment is proposed. A review of cases where VGI was used as an additional data source to assist in map validation is made, as well as cases where only VGI was used, indicating the procedures used to assess VGI quality and fitness for use. A discussion and some conclusions are drawn on best practices, future potential and the challenges of the use of VGI for land cover map validation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1291
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number7
Early online date17 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Geographical Information Science on 17/3/15, available online:


  • crowdsourcing
  • land cover/land use
  • quality
  • validation
  • VGI


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