Using Reverse Viewshed Analysis to Assess the Location Correctness of Visually Generated VGI


  • Acknowledgements: The research leading to these results was supported by DFG Research Training Group GK-1042 “Explorative Analysis and Visualization of Large Information Spaces”, University of Konstanz. Further, we're thankful for the reviewers' comments that helped in improving this article.

Address for correspondence: Hansi Senaratne, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Konstanz, Box 78, 78457 Konstanz, Germany. E-mail:


With the increased availability of user generated data, assessing the quality and credibility of such data becomes important. In this article, we propose to assess the location correctness of visually generated Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) as a quality reference measure. The location correctness is determined by checking the visibility of the point of interest from the position of the visually generated VGI (observer point); as an example we utilize Flickr photographs. Therefore we first collect all Flickr photographs that conform to a certain point of interest through their textual labelling. Then we conduct a reverse viewshed analysis for the point of interest to determine if it lies within the area of visibility of the observer points. If the point of interest lies outside the visibility of a given observer point, the respective geotagged image is considered to be incorrectly geotagged. In this way, we analyze sample datasets of photographs and make observations regarding the dependency of certain user/photo metadata and (in)correct geotags and labels. In future the dependency relationship between the location correctness and user/photo metadata can be used to automatically infer user credibility. In other words, attributes such as profile completeness, together with location correctness, can serve as a weighted score to assess credibility.