Loughborough University
Thesis-2012-Parker.pdf (6.14 MB)

A human factors perspective on volunteered geographic information

Download (6.14 MB)
posted on 2012-07-31, 11:54 authored by Christopher J. Parker
This thesis takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the unique abilities of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) to enhance the utility of online mashups in ways not achievable with Professional Geographic Information (PGI). The key issues currently limiting the use of successful of VGI are the concern for quality, accuracy and value of the information, as well as the polarisation and bias of views within the user community. This thesis reviews different theoretical approaches in Human Factors, Geography, Information Science and Computer Science to help understand the notion of user judgements relative to VGI within an online environment (Chapter 2). Research methods relevant to a human factors investigation are also discussed (Chapter 3). (Chapter 5) The scoping study established the fundamental insights into the terminology and nature of VGI and PGI, a range of users were engaged through a series of qualitative interviews. This led the development of a framework on VGI (Chapter 4), and comparative description of users in relation to one another through a value framework (Chapter 5). Study Two produced qualitative multi-methods investigation into how users perceive VGI and PGI in use (Chapter 6), demonstrating similarities and the unique ability for VGI to provide utility to consumers. Chapter Seven and Study Three brought insight into the specific abilities for VGI to enhance the user judgement of online information within an information relevance context (Chapter 7 and 8). In understanding the outcomes of these studies, this thesis discusses how users perceive VGI as different from PGI in terms of its benefit to consumers from a user centred design perspective (Chapter 9). In particular, the degree to which user concerns are valid, the limitation of VGI in application and its potential strengths in enriching the user experiences of consumers engaged within an information search. In conclusion, specific contributions and avenues for further work are highlighted (Chapter 10).



  • Design and Creative Arts


  • Design


Loughborough University

Rights holder

© C. J. Parker

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en


Andrew May ; Val Mitchell

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

This submission includes a signed certificate in addition to the thesis file(s)

  • I have submitted a signed certificate

Usage metrics

    Design Theses


    Ref. manager