Crowdsourcing in National Mapping 2017

An International Workshop

Leuven, Belgium April 3rd and 4th 2017

Workshop Summary Details

This Workshop has finished. Thank you to ALL of the delegates

Over 60 delegates registered!

See the workshop in action with this panoramic photo!


See all photographs of the workshop on Flickr

We are delighted to announce the 2nd Crowdsourcing and National Mapping Workshop funded by EuroSDR which will take place in Leuven, Belgium on 3rd and 4th April 2017. This is an exciting time in the development of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), Crowdsourcing, and Citizen Participation. The use of crowdsourced geographic information and VGI and crowdsourced spatial data and information by National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies (NMCA) and the Geomatics Industry is a very current, challenging and topical subject. Today we see very rich potential for collaboration and integration of NMCAs, the Geomatics Industry and citizen-based crowdsourcing (such as OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi, Geonames, Galaxy Zoo, GeoWiki, Flickr, GeoWiki, etc). We have seen some limited examples of where collaboration and integration has happened. However, for a myriad of reasons realising this potential for collaboration is not very easy.

The goal of this workshop is to engage with stakeholders from NMCAs, the Geomatics Industry, academic research, software developers, citizens involved in geographic crowdsourcing and VGI, leaders or managers of crowdsourcing or VGI projects over 1.5 days to develop a set of the most prominent and pressing questions related to crowdsourcing and national mapping in Europe (and beyond) today. The outcomes of the workshop will be synthesised and summarised into a report which will be delivered to EuroSDR in May 2017 for immediate consideration for future funding of research and development projects into tackling some of these questions.

Workshop Topics and Themes

The topics for discussion in the workshop will include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • What are the key sources of VGI and how do they complement each other? How are they relevant?
  • How can these sources of VGI be successfully combined?
  • How can VGI and crowdsourced spatial data compliment or assist in the work of NMCAs and industry?
  • How do we then improve/measure the quality of VGI for NMCA and industry applications?
  • European-wide SWOT analysis of VGI in NMCAs – by survey? Interview?
  • What can VGI be used for (and not used for) in NMCAs or in Industry?
  • Investigation of Geographic Information services for facilitating VGI
  • What are the precise needs of NMCAs for VGI?
  • What are the precise needs of the VGI community from NMCAs?
  • In practical terms how can NMCAs and the VGI commmunity work together?
  • Semantics and Interoperability of VGI for use by NMCAs and Industry
  • Development of business models for VGI at NMCAs
  • Privacy, legal and ethical issues related to the use of crowdsourced information and VGI by NMCAs and industry.
  • The future of VGI – sustainability, attracting contributors, etc.

The workshop will include several invited expert speakers from NMCAs, Industry, Academic and the VGI/Crowdsourcing communities to set the scene on their view of Crowdsourcing in National Mapping. Please see the tentative programme schedule below.

This workshop follows on from a very successful workshop and short funded projects (funded at short internship level) in 2012/2013 managed by Peter Mooney and Jeremy Morley with the support of EuroSDR, AGILE, ESRI Europe, and several participating National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies. Details of this workshop and projects are outlined in the report which is available for downloading and viewing in PDF format.

Who can participate?

We are looking forward to encouraging participation from a very wide range of interested parties and stakeholders. These include, but are not limited to: academic researchers, policy makers, active members of VGI or crowdsourcing projects, open source software users and developers, open data providers, experts from National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies (NMCA), SMEs and companies from the Geomatics Industry, local, regional and national government agencies and ministries with an interest in the use of Crowdsourced geospatial data, and anyone with an interest in the use or VGI or crowdsourced spatial data and information.

How can you participate?

This is not a traditional paper-based submission workshop. This workshop is very much focused on the discussion of ideas, the setting of research agendas and the development of research and innovation ideas. We welcome ALL participants who are willing to share their experiences, knowledge, expectation, use-cases, future plans, etc. for VGI and crowdsourced geospatial data and information.

When participants have confirmed their attendance we will kindly ask for a short document (maximum 1.5 pages) outlining the participant’s: experience of VGI/Crowdsourcing/NMCA, current projects, publications related to this area, interest in the topics areas outlined etc. A recent photograph would also be very useful. All of these documents will then be compiled into an electronic document which will be distributed to all participants during the workshop helping participants to get to know each other better.

We look forward to welcoming you to Leuven in April 2017.

If you require any further details or indeed have any suggestions about the workshop please contact us using the email addresses below.

Peter Mooney (Maynooth University, Ireland), Joep Crompvoets (KU Leuven, Belgium) and Rob Lemmens (University of Twente, The Netherlands) (Workshop leaders and co-chairs)

Emails:, and

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, ideas, etc for our workshop - we would be delighted to hear from you!

Questions about Registration


To encourage a broad and large attendance there is NO registration fee for participation in the workshop. Lunches and coffee breaks will be sponsored by EuroSDR. However all other expenses: hotel accomodation, air travel, public transportation, evening meals, travel related costs, etc will be at the expense of the individual.

There will be the option of choosing your accomodation within the workshop venue as participants will be responsible for their own accomodation arrangements for the workshop. However participants are free to choose their own hotels or accomodations anywhere in the Leuven city region.

We believe that the central European location of Leuven should allow participants to avail of low-cost airlines for air travel or train travel as a means of reaching the workshop.

Please Note: While registration for this workshop is free - delegates are reponsible for the purchase of their own flights, public transportation tickets, hotel accomodation etc. Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided during the workshop as outlined in the timetable and these are free to all delegates.

Workshop Venue and Workshop Location

The workshop will be held in The Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe in heart of the beautiful city of Leuven, Belgium (see map below).
Leuven is very easily accessed from all over Europe. The city is very well connected by train from Brussels and other major cities around Belgium. There is a direct train connection from Brussels Airport of only around 13 minutes.

Map View: Workshop Venue and Workshop Location

Leuven in 2007 and 2017

Do you want to see what this OpenStreetMap map looked like in 2007? Have a look at OSM Then and Now


There will be a workshop dinner tonight (April 3rd 2017 at 19:30), at the participants own cost, at De Lange Trappen in the centre of Leuven.


Day 1 – FULL DAY April 3rd 2017

09:00 – 09:10Peter Mooney Official welcome to the workshop, aims for the two day, planning etc.

Short overview of the key issues for consideration in VGI and Crowdsourcing of Spatial Data. Peter will explain that the outputs from the workshop will contribute to a formal written report to EuroSDR.

09:10 – 09:35 Joep Crompvoets Overview of EuroSDR (10 minutes).
Rob Lemmens. A general overview of the plans for the Hackathon breakout sessions.(15 minutes) Rob will also provide some general experiences and examples of relevant hackathon activities in Europe and beyond.
09:35 – 10:00 NMCA viewpoint or overview. - The Netherlands’ Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency - Ms. Magdalena Grus (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions) (Presentation for Download)
10:00 – 10:25 Industry viewpoint - ESRI Mr. Nick Land - Business Development Manager, National Mapping and Cadastre - Esri Inc (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions) (Presentation for Download)
10:25 – 10:50 Academic Research Viewpoint Dr Vyron Antoniou - Hellenic Army Geographical Services, Athens, Greece. (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions) (Presentation for Download)
10:50 – 11:30 Coffee break and networking
11:30 – 11:55 The VGI or Crowdsourcing Viewpoint #1 Mr. Joost Schouppe OpenStreetMap Belgium (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions) (Presentation for Download (56Mb))
12:00 – 12:25 The VGI or Crowdsourcing Viewpoint #2 Mr. Maarten Van Der Veen- Initiator @ - Netherlands Red Cross (Presentation for Download)
12:30 – 12:45The VGI or Crowdsourcing Viewpoint #3 Dr. Mari Laakso - Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, National Land Survey of Finland Bringing the local knowledge in to the NLS/NMA maps. Piloting a VGI map service for topographic data collection. Development of the service and first experiences. (Presentation for Download)
12:45 – 13:00 Peter Mooney - Brief summary of the morning's activities and presentations. Key ideas. Recap of plans for the afternoon session. Questions, remarks, comments from the floor are welcome (Presentation for Download)
13:00 – 14:15 Lunch and networking Lunch is sponsored by EuroSDR.
14:15 – 15:30 Breakout Session 1 - RESEARCH SESSION Session Leader - Peter Mooney

In this session we move away from presentations and shall organise all delegates into groups. We will create small groups with a specific leader for each group. Group leaders will be assigned and these individuals asked to perform these duties before the workshop begins. Each group with a challenge, research topic or problem to consider for open discussion. The group leader will act as the rapporteur for each group (or another member of the group). Each rapporteur will make notes into a shared Google Doc folder/document. This will facilitate easy collation of the notes at the end of the session and the workshop. In this session the NMCAs, Industry, Academic or VGI partners can propose some VGI research, Crowdsourcing or operational problems they are interested in. We will attempt to assemble 5 - 7 groups (with a good mixture of delegates from different backgrounds). These groups will breakout into other rooms within the workshop venue.
(Presentation for Download)

Read the summaries of Group Discussions of Breakout Session #1 Summary of Group Discussions of Breakout Session #1

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee break and networking
16:00 – 16:15 Breakout Session 2 - Hackathon Challenge Introduction Session Leader - Rob Lemmens

This session will provide an introduction to the Hackathon principles and planning. This introduction can extend beyond this time slot if required. Delegates should be prepared to be active again in this session. There will be a focus on the development of software for VGI within NMCAs. (Presentation for Download)

16:15 – 17:30 Breakout Session 2 - Hackathon Challenge Proposals Session Leader - Rob Lemmens

The idea of the continuation of this breakout session is to discuss the merits of proposals for hackathon challenges. Ideally NMCAs or Industry partners can propose hackathon challenges which they are interested in. The VGI, Academic, Research partners can then also provide their input. Hackathon challenges are posted here in Google Drive. In terms of an actual hackathon this session will lead directly to a separate follow-up event after this workshop

Read detailed summaries of Hackathon Proposals from Breakout Session #2 Hackathon Proposals from Breakout Session #2 (Google Drive)

17:30 – 18:00: Summary - What has happened today? Peter Mooney and Joep Crompvoets.
A summary of the first day What has happened, what are the initial outcomes of the afternoon sessions, etc. What has been the reaction to the workshop so far, etc
18:00 – Close for Day 1.
Evening of Day 1 – Group Dinner (Happy Diners!)

Day 2 – HALF DAY April 4th 2017

09:00 – 09:05Peter Mooney Welcome to Workshop Day 2 Short overview of the plans for the second day
09:05 – 09:30What is in the VGI Research Agenda? - Dr. Frank Ostermann Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente, The Netherlands

This presentation will outline some reflections from a research focus on “objective” quality measurements instead of fitness-for-use and a lack of longitudinal studies in the VGI domain. Dr. Ostermann will suggest some ways of moving VGI research forward (beyond OpenStreetMap, beyond reduction to a single version of “the truth”, and beyond disciplinary boundaries). (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions)

09:30 – 09:55 NMCA Challenges in Crowdsourcing and VGI - Dr Tobias Kellenberger Swiss Federal Office of Topography (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions) (Presentation for Download (22Mb)
09:55 - 10:20 NMCA Challenges in Crowdsourcing and VGI #2 - Jeremy Morley - Ordnance Survey UK (20 minutes + 5 minutes questions) (Presentation for Download (29Mb))
10:20 – 10:55 Coffee break + Group Photographs .
10:55 – 12:00 Breakout Session #3 Session Leaders: Joep Crompvoets and Peter Mooney. The Crowdsourcing in National Mapping Future Research Agenda

In this session we will breakout the attendees into two large groups in the separate rooms. The session leaders will propose to discuss which topics could form part of a future Crowdsourcing in National Mapping Research Agenda. In other words - what are the research issues around Crowdsourcing and VGI which NMCAs are most interested in at the moment - and how could academia, the crowdsourcing projects, etc be engaged to tackle these issues and questions.

Summary: The delegates were split into two groups A and B simply based on which table they were sitting at in the main meeting room. Both groups worked independently with the question: What are the relevant research areas and/or research questions for VGI/Crowdsourcing in the future ?

Read the Summary of Breakout Session #3 Summary of Breakout Session #3 notes

12:00 - 12:35 Breakout Session #4 Session Leader: Rob Lemmens. The VGI Knowledge Portal

During this breakout session Rob Lemmens will introduce delegates to the VGI Knowledge Portal. This portal provides information about the whole domain of Volunteered Geo-Information (VGI) by presenting its relevant concepts, products and their relationships. It represents a very important information resource on the Semantic Web. Rob will assist delegates in providing their own information to the VGI Knowledge Portal. (Presentation for Download)

12:35 – 12:55 Informal Summary of the Workshop

Peter Mooney - Summary of the Breakout Sessions on day 1 (Presentation for Download)
Rob Lemmens - Summary of the Hackathon Sessions with some more details about future event planning (Presentation for Download)
Joep Crompvoets - Likely next steps, including some information about what will be included in the written report to EuroSDR.

12:55 – 13:00 Official Closing of the Workshop Peter Mooney - closing remarks and thank you to sponsors and of course the participants.
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch and networking and departures Lunch is sponsored by EuroSDR.
14:00 – 15:00 Further informal discussions and networking by participants (for example if participants are waiting for a flight later in the evening).

Sponsorship and Support for this Workshop

We are very grateful for the sponsorship and support of this workshop from the following organisations:

We are very grateful for organisational support from our academic institutions:

This workshop is fully endorsed by the International Cartographic Association