Among its various civic participation functions, the WeGovNow pilot platform utilises an interactive map enabling all users to relate posted content to specific places in the local community where they deem useful. Generally, the quality of such maps can vary and sometimes this may even confine their practical usefulness. For instance, relying on a map that is based on 20 year old road records, or trying to find a building where all you have are coordinates that are to the nearest 200 metres could cause major problems for anyone trying to make use of them.
However, one of the biggest problems is not that the data may be 20 years old, or you have to look in a 400 metre circle, but that you might not know that this is even the case (how many times have you gone to a place indicated only to find that it is not there?) Often such information about the quality (referred to as metadata) is difficult to find (or even hidden) for users and so it is almost impossible to beforehand know that the data is old or inaccurate.
As part of the WeGovNow project, we are looking to see if there is a good way of showing such information on the map itself rather than adding it as some small text somewhere closeby. As such, we are asking people to complete a short survey where a number of different visualisation techniques are used as a means of showing quality in the data so we can find out if some are better than others. The main goal is to then use the findings from this to encourage the use of such a visualisation method in displaying quality information for future versions of WeGovNow, and in the mapping community as a whole.
If you would like to take part in this survey, please visit our survey site from the University of Heidelberg here.