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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 41 | 12. Juni 2015
Priority Programme “Volunteered Geographic Information: Interpretation, Visualisation and Social Computing“ (SPP 1894)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “Volunteered Geographic Information: Interpretation, Visualisation and Social Computing” (SPP 1894), which is intended to run for six years. This call invites submissions of proposals for the first three-year funding period starting in 2016.

During the last years the availability of spatial data has rapidly developed, in particular through the diffusion of social networks, Web 2.0 platforms and availability of suitable sensor technologies. Characteristic of this development is the involvement of a large number of users, who, often using smart phones and mobile devices, generate and make freely available Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), in the broader sense user generated spatial information. The specific potential of this new information source is based on the characteristics of the underlying data, such as real-time availability, event-driven generation, and subjectivity, all with an implicit or explicit spatial reference. For the information society, these data can support a variety of applications for the solution of grand societal challenges e.g. in the fields of environment and disaster management, health, transport or citizen participation.

The Priority Programme aims to provide a scientific basis for raising the potential of VGI- and sensor data. Three main research domains are especially relevant for the advancement of VGI, namely “Information Retrieval and Analysis of VGI”, “Geovisualisation and Cartographic Communication” and “Social Context”. Methodological research is required within these three domains, where the following sub-topics are of particular interest:

Information Retrieval and Analysis of VGI

  • information extraction (space, time, semantics)
  • data aggregation and fusion of different sources and space/time scales
  • identification of patterns and correlations in VGI
  • new processing paradigms for large data streams
  • search and exploration of VGI

Geovisualisation and Cartographic Communication

  • visualisation methods suitable for VGI (streaming, multivariate, metadata, quality)
  • real-time visualisation and abstraction
  • user feedback, collaboration and interaction
  • theoretical frameworks for VGI visualisation

Social Context

  • interfacing subjective classification and common ontologies, preservation of consistency
  • social context dependent data capture, use and dissemination
  • reliability and trustworthiness, information quality
  • motivation, participation, privacy

The fundamental research potential especially emerges at the interfaces of the three domains, thus, in the proposals, interactions and interdependencies should be taken into account. Therefore, applicants are expected to address at least two of the above research domains, and explain relevance and synergies resulting from this connection. The projects should focus on fundamental research, possibly using relevant applications as reference frame. The proposers should also clarify the relevance of their research questions and approaches with respect to a specific application domain. Besides applications from individuals, also interdisciplinary tandem proposals are encouraged.

Proposals must be submitted not later than 29 October 2015 via the DFG’s electronic submission system elan selecting “SPP 1894/1 – Volunteered Geographic Information”. Please follow the most recent guidelines for project submission according to forms 50.05 (Priority Programmes) and 54.01 (Project Proposals). Proposals must be written in English. Please make sure that all applicants start their elan registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline.

Further information

The DFG’s electronic proposal processing system elan can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are on the DFG’s website at:

Information about the scientific goals of the Priority Programme is provided by the coordinator at the TU Dresden:

For administrative and formal inquiries, please contact at the DFG: