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Researcher Aims to Use Social Multimedia For Enhanced Mapping

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 Shawn Newsam

University of California, Merced professor Shawn Newsam

Credit: University of California, Merced

University of California, Merced professor Shawn Newsam is researching the viability of using multimedia collections as volunteered geographic information (VGI) for mapping purposes.

VGI is a field in which geographically relevant information is provided voluntarily by individuals.

The Merced project will only use multimedia shared under a Create Commons license, which allows them to be copied, distributed, edited, and built upon, and no attempt will be made to identify individuals appearing in the image and videos.

Newsam already has used proximate sensing--the use of large numbers of images and videos taken by users on the ground in a certain geographic area--to create large-scale maps of both developed and undeveloped regions. The new research will extend that work further, using social multimedia to map geographic information not observable through other sensing means.

"This data is useful for observing geographic information that is difficult or not possible to observe from overhead imagery such as from satellite or aerial platforms," Newsam says. “At the heart of the problem is being able to perform automated image and video understanding well enough to infer useful geographic information such as land-use classes.”

From University of California, Merced 
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