Workshop WG 4: Lessons learned from volunteers’ interactions with geographic citizen science applications

Workshop WG 4: Lessons learned from volunteers’ interactions with geographic citizen science applications: best practices and design recommendations

Date: Friday April 27, 2018
Location: University College London, London
Submission of Extended abstract and Motivation letters - Deadline: 15 February 2018
Notification of acceptance: 15 February 2018
Registration Opens: 1 February 2018
Registration Closes: 15 March 2018

Submit your abstracts and motivation letters to:
Artemis Skarlatidoua[dot]skarlatidou[at] AND Sultan Kocaman (sultankocaman[at] AND  Michalis Vitosmichalis[dot] vitos[at] - please also CC Judy Barrett judy[dot]barrett[at]


The Extreme Citizen Science group is organising the workshop on  ‘Lessons learned from volunteers’ interactions with geographic citizen science applications: best practices and design recommendations’ to take place at UCL on Friday, April 27, 2018. The call for submissions and further instructions are provided below.

A decade ago, in 2007, Michael Goodchild defined volunteered geographic information (VGI) as ‘the widespread engagement of large numbers of private citizens, often with little in the way of formal qualifications, in the creation of geo­graphic information, a function that for centuries has been reserved to official agencies.’ (p.2). The collection and use of this type of crowdsourced geographic data has grown rapidly with amateurs mapping the earth’s surface for all kind of purposes (e.g. collecting and disseminating information about accessibility in urban centres, for crisis and emergency response purposes, mapping illegal logging in remote areas and so on). A subset of these activities has been described as ‘geographic citizen science’ and includes scientific activities in which amateur scientists (volunteers) participate in geographic data collection, analysis and dissemination within the context of a scientific project (Haklay, 2013) or simply by using scientific methods and equipment. Although, there is an extensive discussion in the VGI and geographic citizen science literature about opportunities as well as implications (e.g. data coverage, data quality and trust issues, motivation and retainment of volunteers and so on),  examples from the actual interaction are not so widely discussed, neither has evidence been collected from a broad spectrum of case studies to demonstrate how volunteers interact with those technologies and applications, what they are looking for and what it is that they need/try to accomplish (at a scientific, project and personal level) and what are the common design mistakes that influence interaction.

Call for abstracts

The goal of this workshop is to initiate discussions by collecting and sharing academic and industrial expertise from various contexts, with the ultimate aim to understand how to produce better designs which improve effectiveness and provide an improved user experience in and with geographic citizen science. The workshop is organised by the internationally-renowned Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) group at UCL and the EU-funded COST Action on citizen science to promote creativity, scientific literacy and innovation throughout Europe, in collaboration with ISPRS WG V/3 on the Promotion of Regional Collaboration in Citizen science and Geospatial Technology and the ICA Commission on Use, User and Usability Issues. Expected outcomes include a collection of the presented case studies in a book and a network to inspire and work on future collaboration opportunities.

If you would like to share your expertise (and contribute to our envisaged outputs) during the workshop we are pleased to invite you to submit one-page motivation letter which includes a description of yourself and your potential contribution to the workshop. If you are interested in presenting your work, we also invite you to submit an extended abstract (max 1500 words) describing your work and its related case study(ies).

Some indicative questions that submissions should address include (but not limited to):

  • What are the characteristics of the proposed technology/application and why it is a geographic citizen science application?
  • What was the design and development process and how were volunteers involved in it (if at all)?
  • Who were the volunteers and what were their special characteristics which influence design?
  • How did volunteers interact with the technology and what were the main barriers as well as most liked features?
  • Did volunteers have specific needs from the technology that were not accommodated and how can we integrate these into better designs?
  • What are the lessons learned and your design recommendations?

General criteria for selection

  • Authors whose extended abstracts are accepted for presentation will be fully compensated for their travel and participation.
  • Additional participants will be selected based on interest in the project, spaces available, geographical spread, career stage and gender balance. Participation of social enterprises, SMEs and other business is strongly encouraged.

Organising committee:
Artemis Skarlatidou (UCL), Kristien Ooms (Ghent University), María Alonso Roldán (Mapping for Change), Michalis Vitos (UCL), Muki Haklay (UCL), Sultan Kocaman (Hacettepe University), Veljko Pejovic (University of Ljubljana), Addy Pope (ESRI UK), Adel Bolbol Fernández (ESRI)


  • Goodchild, M.F. (2007) Citizens as sensors: the world of volunteered geography. Geo Journal, 69, 211– 21
  • Haklay, M. (2013) Citizen Science and Volunteered Geographic Information – overview and typology of participation. In: Sui, D.Z., Elwood, S. and Goodchild M.F. (eds.), 2013. Crowdsourcing Geographic Knowledge: Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in Theory and Practice . Berlin: Springer. pp 105-122 DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4587-2_7

Workshop Report

Can be found here.

Friday, April 27, 2018 - 09:00 to 18:00
University College London
Pearson Building, Gower Street
United Kingdom