Driven by Web 2.0 technology and the almost ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is knowing an unprecedented growth. These notable technological advancements have opened fruitful perspectives also in the field of water management and protection, raising the demand for a reconsideration of policies which also takes into account the emerging trend of VGI. This research investigates the opportunity of leveraging such technology to involve citizens equipped with common mobile devices (e.g. tablets and smartphones) in a campaign of report of water-related phenomena. The work is carried out in collaboration with ADBPO - Autorità di bacino del fiume Po (Po river basin Authority), i.e. the entity responsible for the environmental planning and protection of the basin of river Po. This is the longest Italian river, spreading over eight among the twenty Italian Regions and characterized by complex environmental issues. To enrich ADBPO official database with user-generated contents, a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) architecture was designed which allows not only user field-data collection, but also data Web publication through standard protocols. Open Data Kit suite allows users to collect georeferenced multimedia information using mobile devices equipped with location sensors (e.g. the GPS). Users can report a number of environmental emergencies, problems or simple points of interest related to the Po river basin, taking pictures of them and providing other contextual information. Field-registered data is sent to a server and stored into a PostgreSQL database with PostGIS spatial extension. GeoServer provides then data dissemination on the Web, while specific OpenLayers-based viewers were built to optimize data access on both desktop computers and mobile devices. Besides proving the suitability of FOSS in the frame of VGI, the system represents a successful prototype for the exploitation of user local, real-time information aimed at managing and protecting water resources.
Brovelli, Maria Antonia; Dotti, Luca; Minghini, Marco; Pancaldi, Massimo; and Zamboni, Giorgio, "Volunteered Geographic Information For Water Management: A Prototype Architecture" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.