Developing an interactive mobile volunteered geographic information platform to integrate environmental big data and citizen science in urban management

Zhenghong Tang, Yanfu Zhou, Hongfeng Yu, Yue Gu, Tiantian Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


A significant technical gap exists between the large amount of complex scientific environmental big data and the limited accessibility to these datasets. Mobile platforms are increasingly becoming important channels through which citizens can receive and report information. Mobile devices can be used to report Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), which can be useful data in environmental management. This paper evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the selected real cases: “Field Photo,” “CoCoRaHS,” “OakMapper,” “What’s Invasive!”, “Leafsnap,” “U.S. Green Infrastructure Reporter”, and “Nebraska Wetlands”. Based on these case studies, the results indicate that active, loyal and committed users are key to ensuring the success of citizen science projects. Online and off-line activities should be integrated to promote the effectiveness of public engagement in environmental management. It is an urgent need to transfer complex environmental big data to citizens’ daily mobile devices which will then allow them to participate in urban environmental management. A technology framework is provided to improve existing mobile-based environmental engagement initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpringer Geography
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Publication series

NameSpringer Geography
ISSN (Print)2194-315X
ISSN (Electronic)2194-3168



  • Citizen science
  • Environmental big data
  • Mobile
  • Urban environmental management
  • Volunteered geographic information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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