Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Big Data

In the growing age of technology companies find different ways to track and monitor user behavior on social media sites as well as other mobile sites. The databases held by these large enterprises  increase every day and hold valuable information about the consumers of their products. This collected data is called big data. Big data gives these companies insight into the habits, behavior and even the location of the user allowing for more effective marketing strategies to target these specific audiences. VGI (Volunteered Geographic Information) is a form of big data that the user agrees to allow the company to have access to in order to track their consumption habits.

Tourist density and flows calculated by Flikr (app) database.

However, not all consumers are on board with VGI. While collecting VGI is useful for the companies, many users disapprove and a good deal of mistrust is felt by these consumers. In addition to consumer mistrust, VGI is a problematic and unreliable data as a random population sample: Due to the lack of knowledge about the motives, conditions, contexts and socio-economic characteristics of the users, VGI datasets hardly allow for a reliable interpretation of who and what the analysis represents, let alone a generalization" (Fisher).

Ultimately, there is much to be developed and understood about VGI. Scholars propose that it is important to understand geo-media as a communicative process rather than simply information processing technology.

Fischer, F. (2012, April 1). VGI as Big Data. A New but Delicate Geographic Data-Source. Retrieved February 13, 2017.



  1. This was particularly interesting in terms of content, as VGI is something that not everyone knows exists. From a business focused standpoint, specific corporate firms have looked into investing this when determining product or promotional placement as "big data" is a growing interest and field. In particular, Disney World began using a sort of this VGI data through their "Fast Pass" which not only speeds up waiting times, but also allows Disney to track and monitor a visitor as they move through the park to figure out where hotspots are and which specific consumers to market specific items to. But as mentioned with consumer mistrust, people do still have a problem with it for privacy reasons.

  2. In coming years it will be interesting to see how the data is used from the Disney fast pass, and see if the technology is used in other applications. I could see it being useful for determining traffic patterns in cites, and or creating a real time traffic map for emergency services.

  3. I'm really interested to see how this information is used in coming years. It seems like very useful data, just as advertisers use data on internet users to see what ads they should put out to match the consumer online.

  4. I wonder if those who do agree to VGI conditions are aware of what they're agreeing to--or do they just click "Agree & continue"...What problems does this lack of understanding & trust between companies and consumers create? Is it worth the potential benefits of VGI?

  5. I think it would be cool if people got on board with VGI from a GIS perspective it would be cool to see the maps, but as a consumer I would not want to be tracked. I feel like the American public will have a hard time getting on board with this one.