User-centred design of neogeography: the impact of volunteered geographic information on users' perceptions of online map ‘mashups’

This paper investigates the influence of presenting volunteered and professionally created geographic information to 101 wheelchair users through an interactive website that included information collected by wheelchair-using volunteers. The aim of this experiment was to understand the influence that (1) knowing a map-based website contains volunteered information and (2) actually including volunteered information within an online interactive map (a mashup) have on the perceived trust of the user, described in terms of quality and authority. Analysis using Kruskal–Wallis showed that judgements of currency were influenced by including geo-information from untrained volunteers (volunteered geographic information) within the mashup, but not influenced by the participant being told that the online map contained volunteered information. The participants appeared to make judgements based on what information they saw, rather than what they were told about the source of the information.