Reading: Gamification of geographic data collection

by Chris F

The first new reading for my dissertation is one that I’ve got from an actual tutor while I was attending State of the Map, the international OpenStreetMap conference at which I’ve held a talk(my part starts at 1:33:00) about the risks and rewards of gamification in data entry. It’s a paper called “Gamification of geographic data collection”, written by students at the University of Zagreb.

It’s an interesting paper, written as an introduction to gamification concepts for people in the GIS (Geographic informational systems) industry. It starts by defining gamification and the SAPS (Status, Access, Power, Stuff) model, then goes into defining the different types of motivation. After talking about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, different game mechanics are described, such as levels and badges. The authors wrote a short summary, looking at the SAPS model on existing GIS gamified approaches: Foursquare, Waze and Ingress, which have (or used to have, in Foursquare’s case) proprietary data, and OpenStreetMap Reporter and Kort, which are OSM improvement efforts, with Kort being an application developed by students at the university of Zagreb.

While I was familiar with the game design concepts expressed in it, such as game mechanics, points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, onboarding and engagement loops, I’ve learned some terms which I did not know about, such as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and Location Based Services, Gaming and Social Networks, which tie in beautifully with the games and applications that I will look into when it comes to adding and fixing data from OpenStreetMap.

Additionally, this paper has given me a few more related papers and books which I will research, such as Hecker’s “Achievements considered harmful” and Sutton’s “Holiday OpenStreetMap project for Swellendam”.

Odobašić, D., Medak, D. and Miler, M., 2013. Gamification of Geographic Data Collection. [online] Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, pp.328–337. Available at: [Accessed 3 Oct. 2013].