GIS is making jumps in big data, APIs from popular apps like Flickr provide big data with geographical context. This data is known as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and can be a valuable information base for real time geodemographics for user profiling. This big data comes with obstacles in validity and reliability that require more testing to improve. What is big data? Along with mobile phone tracking their users, Social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr are used to collect large amounts of data about their consumers, this is big data. Mobile media advances have enabled the collection of big locational data about anyone, anywhere and at any time. Paired with GIS databases companies can use geodemographics for analyzing and visualizing their target consumers and create lucrative sales regions for their goods
This is a map of the tourist density and flows calculated from the Flickr Database.
VGI is created outside the professional practices of the GIS sector but uses a GIS base in its technology. Because VGI is relatively new there are critics such as many GIS practitioners who are concerned with certainty, accuracy and inferior map quality. But due to the clear potential of VGI leads to an acceptance by many practitioners. Hopefully VGI continues to develop and can be used to further help businesses and the community.
Fischer, F. (2012). VGI as Big Data: A new but delicate geographic data-source. GeoInformatics, 15(3), 46-47.