Collaborative mapping

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Collaborative mapping is the aggregation of Web mapping and user-generated content, from a group of individuals or entities, and can take several distinct forms. With the growth of technology for storing and sharing maps, collaborative maps have become competitors to commercial services, in the case of OpenStreetMap, or components of them, as in Google Map Maker and Yandex.Map editor.


Collaborative mapping applications vary depending on which feature the collaborative edition takes place: on the map itself (shared surface), or on overlays to the map. A very simple collaborative mapping application would just plot users' locations (social mapping or geosocial networking) or Wikipedia articles' locations (Placeopedia). Collaborative implies the possibility of edition by several distinct individuals so the term would tend to exclude applications where the maps are not meant for the general user to modify.

In this kind of application, the map itself is created collaboratively by sharing a common surface. For example, both OpenStreetMap and WikiMapia allow for the creation of single 'points of interest', as well as linear features and areas. Collaborative mapping and specifically surface sharing faces the same problems as revision control, namely concurrent access issues and versioning. In addition to these problems, collaborative maps must deal with the difficult issue of cluttering, due to the geometric constraints inherent in the media. One approach to this problem is using overlays, allowing to suitable use in consumer services.[1] Despite these issues, collaborative mapping platforms such as OpenStreetMap can be considered as being as trustworthy as professionally produced maps [2]

Overlays group together items on a map, allowing the user of the map to toggle the overlay's visibility and thus all items contained in the overlay. The application uses map tiles from a third-party (for example one of the mapping APIs) and adds its own collaboratively edited overlays to them, sometimes in a wiki fashion. If each user's revisions are contained in an overlay, the issue of revision control and cluttering can be mitigated. One example of this is the accessibility platform Accessadvisr, which utilises collaborative mapping to inform persons of accessibility issues,[3] which is perceived to be as reliable and trustworthy as professional information.[4][5]

Other overlays-based collaborative mapping tools follow a different approach and focus on user centered content creation and experience. There users enrich maps with their own points of interest and build kind of travel books for themselves. At the same time users can explore overlays of other users as collaborative extension.

Humanitarian collaborative mapping[edit]

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team,[6][7][8] based on OpenStreetMap,[9] provides collaborative mapping support for humanitarian objectives, e.g. collaborative transportation map,[10] epidemiological mapping for Malaria,[11] or earthquake response.[12]

Private local collaboration using maps[edit]

Some mapping companies offer an online mapping tool that allows private collaboration between users when mapping sensitive data on digital maps, e.g.:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parker, C.J., May, A., Mitchell, V. and Burrows, A. (2013), “Capturing Volunteered Information for Inclusive Service Design: Potential Benefits and Challenges”, The Design Journal, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 197–218.
  2. ^ Parker, C.J., May, A.J. and Mitchell, V. (2014), “User Centred Design of Neogeography: The Impact of Volunteered Geographic Information on Trust of Online Map ‘Mashups’”, Ergonomics, Vol. 57 No. 7, pp. 987–997.
  3. ^ May, A.J., Parker, C.J. and Ross, T. (2014), “Evaluating a concept design of a crowd-sourced ‘mashup’ providing ease-of-access information for people with limited mobility”, Transportation Research. Part C: Emerging Technologies, Vol. 49 No. 1, pp. 103–113.
  4. ^ Parker, C.J., May, A.J. and Mitchell, V. (2012), “Understanding Design with VGI using an Information Relevance Framework”, Transactions in GIS, Transactions in GIS: GISRUK Special Issue, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 545–560.
  5. ^ Parker, C.J., May, A.J. and Mitchell, V. (2012), “Understanding Design with VGI using an Information Relevance Framework”, Transactions in GIS, Transactions in GIS: GISRUK Special Issue, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 545–560.
  6. ^ Palen, L., Soden, R., Anderson, T. J., & Barrenechea, M. (2015, April). Success & scale in a data-producing organization: The socio-technical evolution of OpenStreetMap in response to humanitarian events. In Proceedings of the 33rd annual ACM conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 4113–4122). ACM.
  7. ^ Curran, K., Crumlish, J., & Fisher, G. (2013). OpenStreetMap. In Geographic Information Systems: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 540–549). IGI Global.
  8. ^ HOT – Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team – Web portal: (accessed 2017/08/14)
  9. ^ Haklay, M., & Weber, P. (2008). Openstreetmap: User-generated street maps. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 7(4), 12–18.
  10. ^ HOT Metropolitan Map for Managua – accessed (2017/08/14) HOT-project information – Project:
  11. ^
  12. ^ Soden, R., & Palen, L. (2014). From crowdsourced mapping to community mapping: The post-earthquake work of OpenStreetMap Haiti. In COOP 2014-Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on the Design of Cooperative Systems, 27–30 May 2014, Nice (France) (pp. 311–326). Springer, Cham.
  13. ^ Butler, Patrick (2014-04-10). "Collaborative mapping | Collaborative mapping". Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  14. ^ "Private local collaboration via maps | collaborative mapping platform",, 2017-03-24, retrieved 2017-03-24