Darren Hardy PhD Defense

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


Darren Hardy
PhD Defense

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010
Bren Hall 3526 (Pine Room)


"Volunteered Geographic Information in Wikipedia"

PhD Committee Chair: James Frew



Volunteered geographic information (VGI) refers to the geographic subset of online user-generated content. Through Geobrowsers and online mapping services, which use geovisualization and Web technologies to share and produce VGI, a global digital commons of geographic information has emerged. A notable example is Wikipedia, an online collaborative encyclopedia where anyone can edit articles, including those about place. Wikipedia's editorial transparency and integration with online mapping services make it well suited for studying VGI production. My dissertation contributes empirical evidence and quantitative methods to an emerging area of study—the efficacy and use of VGI—and I focus on spatial behavior in VGI production, which is largely unknown. In particular, the capacity of a ubiquitous Internet to reduce communication costs has raised questions of whether geographic distance matters in information and economic production. My research tests whether proximity matters in VGI production. That is, do VGI contributors write about nearby places? Moreover, what are suitable research methods to study large-scale VGI system with millions of contributors like Wikipedia?




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