|This is a graph depicting movement using the Twitter application.|
This type of data is coined "volunteered" simply because the users of the applications are considered volunteers by partaking in the use of the application. This information is collected through geographical datasets that are generated by the users and are put to use by companies and businesses. VGI can be considered a commodity in this aspect, because data is analyzed and applied for economic decision-making processes. One main problem with VGI is that the datasets don't allow for any definitive and respected interpretation of what is represented. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about motives and contexts of the users, so a well informed analysis of the data is hardly possible. Perhaps the other main problem is the argument of whether the information is truly "volunteered" or not. Users go online and utilize the uses of the applications that are popular today, such as Twitter, Foursquare, and Flickr. It is argued that they are not using those applications in order to provide information to a third party for the process of geodemographic profiling. In contrast, it is argued that they simply wish to participate in the everyday uses of the applications.
|This image shows tourist density that is calculated from the Flickr database.|
Fischer, F. (2012). VGI as Big Data: A new but delicate geographic data-source. GeoInformatics, 15(3), 46-47.