Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 5–41 | Cite as

Needs, drivers, participants and engagement actions: a framework for motivating contributions to volunteered geographic information systems

  • José-Pablo Gómez-BarrónEmail author
  • Miguel-Ángel Manso-Callejo
  • Ramón Alcarria
Original Article


This work addresses motivation for participating in volunteered geographic information systems (VGIS), which enable a crowdsourcing process to create information-driven value. VGIS, implemented by executing a project and its crowdsourcing strategy, are driven by online networked community participation enabled by a technological infrastructure. However, without community engagement, crowdsourcing, the core process of a VGIS, fails to create value and its main advantage becomes one of its biggest challenges. To address this problem, we present a conceptual framework to assist in designing engagement strategies to motivate and facilitate goal-oriented participation. To this end, we examine the relation between Maslow’s human needs and VGI, its different goals, and current studies on motivation. We analyze intrinsic and internalized motivation, focusing on the needs outlined in self-determination theory. Finally, we apply Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation in relation to VGI. As a result, the proposed framework consists of three design tools: core drivers, participant types to whom efforts to motivate should be aligned with the project rationale, and an engagement process consisting of three main actions: Enroll, Grow and Retain. With this framework, future VGIS developments can have a structured approach that guides participation and the design of engagement strategies.


Citizen engagement Motivation Crowdsourcing Volunteered geographic information System design 

JEL Classification

O30 L29 D26 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Land Surveying, Geodesy and Mapping EngineeringUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

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