ENRICHING SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE (SDI) BY USER GENERATED CONTENTS FOR TRANSPORTATION
Keywords: User-centric SDI (spatial data infrastructure), Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), transportation
Abstract. Spatial data is one of the most critical elements underpinning decision making for many disciplines. Accessing and sharing spatial data have always been a great struggle for researchers. Spatial data infrastructure (SDI) plays a key role in spatial data sharing by building a suitable platform for collaboration and cooperation among the different data producer organizations. In recent years, SDI vision has been moved toward a user-centric platform which has led to development of a new and enriched generation of SDI (third generation). This vision is to provide an environment where users can cooperate to handle spatial data in an effective and satisfactory way. User-centric SDI concentrates on users, their requirements and preferences while in the past, SDI initiatives were mainly concentrated on technological issues such as the data harmonization, standardized metadata models, standardized web services for data discovery, visualization and download. On the other hand, new technologies such as the GPS-equipped smart phones, navigation devices and Web 2.0 technologies have enabled citizens to actively participate in production and sharing of the spatial information. This has led to emergence of the new phenomenon called the Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). VGI describes any type of content that has a geographic element which has been voluntarily collected. However, its distinctive element is the geographic information that can be collected and produced by citizens with different formal expertise and knowledge of the spatial or geographical concepts. Therefore, ordinary citizens can cooperate in providing massive sources of information that cannot be ignored. These can be considered as the valuable spatial information sources in SDI. These sources can be used for completing, improving and updating of the existing databases.
Spatial information and technologies are an important part of the transportation systems. Planning, design and operation of the transportation systems requires the exchange of large volumes of spatial data and often close cooperation among the various organizations. However, there is no technical and organizational process to get a suitable data infrastructure to address diverse needs of the transportation. Hence, development of a common standards and a simple data exchange mechanism is strongly needed in the field of transportation for decision support. Since one of the main purposes of transportation projects is to improve the quality of services provided to users, it is necessary to involve the users themselves in the decision making processes. This should be done through a public participation and involvement in all stages of the transportation projects. In other words, using public knowledge and information as another source of information is very important to make better and more efficient decisions. Public participation in transportation projects can also help organizations to enhance their public supports; because the lack of public support can lead to failure of technically valid projects. However, due to complexity of the transportation tasks, lack of appropriate environment and methods for facilitation of the public participation, collection and analysis of the public information and opinions, public participation in this field has not been well considered so far. This paper reviews the previous researches based on the enriched SDI development and its movement toward the VGI by focusing on the public participation in transportation projects. To this end, methods and models that have been used in previous researches are studied and classified initially. Then, methods of the previous researchers on VGI and transportation are conceptualized in SDI. Finally, the suggested method for transportation projects is presented. Results indicate success of the new generation of SDI in integration with public participation for transportation projects.