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    Placing Wikimapia: an exploratory analysis

    Ballatore, Andrea and Jokar Arsanjani, J. (2019) Placing Wikimapia: an exploratory analysis. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 33 (8), pp. 1633-1650. ISSN 1365-8816.

    2018-Ballatore_Jokar Arsanjani - Placing Wikimapia.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

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    Wikimapia is a major privately-owned volunteered geographic information (VGI) project to collect information about places. Over the past ten years, Wikimapia has attracted hundreds of thousands of contributors and collected millions of data points, including towns, restaurants, lakes, and tourist attractions ( Unlike OpenStreetMap, Wikimapia adopts a "placial" perspective, favouring rich descriptions over detailed geometries and encouraging the collection of textual and visual content about places with approximate footprints. In this article, we first trace the origin and development of Wikimapia as a for-profit project, intimately linked with search engine advertising. Drawing on an in-depth interview with a former developer, we analyse project's data model and characteristics of its community. As Wikimapia discussions are rife with copyright issues, we discuss the project's intellectual property, as well as its strategies for quality management. Second, we focus on the popularity of the project, which is crucial to the longevity and sustainability of VGI projects. Using behavioural data from Google Trends, we trace a geography of interest in Wikimapia, comparing with that in OpenStreetMap, from a temporal and spatial perspective. While OpenStreetMap attracts more interest in high-income countries, Wikimapia emerges as relatively more popular in low- and middle-income countries, countering the received notion of VGI as a Global North phenomenon. Our study suggests that Wikimapia’s popularity is steadily declining.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): crowdsourcing, Wikimapia, OpenStreetMap
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Data Analytics, Birkbeck Institute for
    Depositing User: Andrea Ballatore
    Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2018 08:17
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:41


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