Crowdsourced geospatial data is reshaping urban sciences

Xiao Huang, Siqin Wang, Tianjun Lu, Yisi Liu, Leticia Serrano-Estrada

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

2 Scopus citations


For many years, urban sciences relied heavily on traditional, authoritative data sources. However, a paradigm shift has occurred recently with the advent of citizen-driven data contribution. This evolution in data acquisition for urban science is attributable to advancements in positioning and navigation technologies, widespread use of digital devices, the rise of Web 2.0, enhanced broadband communications, and refined data management techniques. The significance of crowdsourced geospatial data in the realm of urban sciences is now widely acknowledged. A diverse array of novel data sources has been increasingly gaining prominence. These include, but are not limited to, social media platforms, street view images, GPS signals from cellphones, smartphone applications, transaction records, online mapping services, and sensor data crowdsourced from the public. This innovative approach to data collection, fuelled by contributions from individuals around the globe, opens up possibilities for accessing data that would otherwise remain untapped. This editorial aims to offer a unique perspective on how crowdsourced geospatial data is revolutionizing the field of urban sciences. We categorize the studies into five primary areas: 1) tourism, 2) urban visuals and perception, 3) urban infrastructure and functionality, 4) mobility and transportation, and 5) miscellaneous, and further discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for future research in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103687
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors


  • Big data
  • Crowdsourced geospatial data
  • Urban informatics
  • Urban science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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