Lisbon, Jun 2015

AGILE Workshop: Assessing the Fitness of Citizens Observatories for Land Cover/Land Use Mapping and Validation Purposes

Venue: AGILE, Lisbon, 9 June 2015


The aim of this workshop was to test the consistency/quality of the land cover/use information obtained from different sources of VGI (e.g. OpenStreetMap and photographs from Flickr, Geograph and Panoramio) and compare these with land cover and land use from authoritative sources including the Urban Atlas and data from the UK Ordnance Survey.

Organizing Committee


  • Jamal Jokar Arsanjani, GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Marco Painho, NOVA IMS – Information Management School, Portugal
  • Jacinto Estima, NOVA IMS – Information Management School, Portugal
  • Cidália Fonte, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Lucy Bastin, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Vyron Antoniou, HMGS, Greece
  • Linda See, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria

There were 11 participants in the workshop and 4 workshops leads (AT, DE, PT and UK). COST supported 8 participants from 4 different COST countries (IT, NL, PT, UK). One was non-ESR while all remaining were ESRs or PhD students. Gender was evenly balanced. The participants included:

  • Valentina Cerutti, NL
  • Roberta Floris, IT
  • Jose Gaspar, PT
  • Laura Kinley, UK
  • Pierangelo Massa, IT
  • Marco Minghini, IT
  • Sara Mura, IT
  • Pedro Sarmento, PT

COST Action member Jenny Harding from the UK Ordnance Survey also attended the event.


The day was organized into a lecture followed by four exercises:

  • Exercise 1: Introduction to the Urban Atlas
  • Exercise 2: Classification of photographs from Flickr, Geograph and Panoramio with and without context
  • Exercise 3: Classification of a larger set of photographs and comparison with the Urban Atlas
  • Exercise 4: Comparison of OSM and the Urban Atlas

At the end of the day, we had a general discussion on the value of photographs for land cover/land use. We agreed to develop a tool to make the classification easier and to then ask the participants to complete their classifications of photographs after the workshop, which will lead to a paper.

  • The issue of overlapping polygons with processing of OSM data was presented and three people showed interest in working with Prof Fonte on building a set of rules to reconcile the overlaps. This will be a valuable resource and will most likely lead to a paper.
  • Data on photo interpretations were collected from the group and an initial analysis was undertaken to compare interpretations of the same set of photos. This analysis will continue and will be shared with the participants when complete.
  • Data on comparison of OSM and Urban Atlas – Participants provided their files and analysis is ongoing.
  • A tool will be developed to classify the photographs more easily (already partly in place by Vyron Antoniou) and participants will classify the full set of photographs. A paper on the utility of photographic VGI for land cover/land use will be the goal.
  • Marco Minghini presented information about the upcoming training school; this may result in additional participants from this workshop.