Free and Open Source Software for Geomatics Conference FOSS4G 2010 Barcelona

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Traditionally geographic data are captured by well trained specialist using state of the art technology. Recent developments like GPS enabled cell phones make capturing of geographic data no longer the exclusive domain of well trained professionals, but opens new possibilities for involvement of citizens. Every human is able to capture geographic information about social and environmental phenomena. Internet provides the means to upload those observations and share it with other users. The term “Volunteered Geographic Information” (VGI) is used to describe this user generated geographic information.

By now, there are several cell phone operating systems available for which VGI applications could be developed. Windows Mobile has been around for quite some time now and there are many devices available on which this platform is used. Android is the new kid on the block. Android is Google’s open source mobile platform and an increasing number of devices using this platform is becoming available.

Purpose of this research is to compare the Windows Mobile and Android platforms in relation to collecting VGI. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms for the development of VGI applications?

Methods and materials

To investigate the research question, two applications were developed, one for each platform. For Windows Mobile, an application to collect spatial data regarding agricultural parcels was developed. For Android, an application to collect spatial data regarding protected bird species was developed.


Both applications serve their purpose quite well. Development of both applications was not a problem either. Programming the GPS on Windows Mobile required an additional third party software component, whereas Android provides this functionality out of the box. On the other hand, development of the user interface for the Android application proved more cumbersome than the development of the user interface for the Windows Mobile application.



Bas Vanmeulebrouk - Alterra, Wageningen UR
Michel Kiers - Alterra, Wageningen UR
Michel Uiterwijk - Alterra, Wageningen UR