Geographic Volunteer Work (GVW)

Geographic Volunteer Work (GVW) is a term that refers to volunteer users’ participation in sharing geographic or local information to an open platform such as Cyclopath (

The researchers in GroupLens (research lab in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota) introduced the term “Geographic Volunteer Work, emphasizing the active role of end users. This is in contrast with “Volunteered Geographic Information” which is the geographic community’s term.

GroupLens Research developed a GVW platform “Cyclopath“, which is a map-based bicycle route and information sharing system. This platform has been used by bicyclists in a local community in Minneapolis, MN, and benefited the community by helping them share bicycle routes information, find better routes, and reduce length of their bicycling routes. Their research is an example of a study about how open GVW platform can work in a community setting and generate values for the local community .

Research studies regarding GVW can vary, ranging from studying potential values or effectiveness of this platform to investigating user behaviors in this kind of system, and to examining quality and credibility of user-generated contents.

Here at CASCI, we work on developing research ideas with GVW, especially about the effectiveness and potentials of GVW systems and quality of GVW contents.

Related Interest Group: Local Event Organization, Place and Regional Data (LEOPARD)

Related Research Project: Geo-Local Informatics

Related Papers/References:

Priedhorsky, R., Masli, M., & Terveen, L. (2010, February). Eliciting and focusing geographic volunteer work. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 61-70). ACM.

Panciera, K., Priedhorsky, R., Erickson, T., & Terveen, L. (2010, April). Lurking? cyclopaths?: a quantitative lifecycle analysis of user behavior in a geowiki. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1917-1926). ACM.

Priedhorsky, R., Pitchford, D., Sen, S., & Terveen, L. (2012, February). Recommending routes in the context of bicycling: algorithms, evaluation, and the value of personalization. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 979-988). ACM.