Assessing the Quality of OpenStreetMap Data in South Africa in Reference to National Mapping Standards


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Lindy-Anne Siebritz, Chief Directorate: National Geo-Spatial Information, South Africa,
George Sithole, University of Cape Town,South Africa,


The introduction and success of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) has gained the interest of National Mapping Agencies (NMAs). VGI is geographic information that is freely generated by non-experts and shared using VGI initiatives available on the Internet. NMAs are looking to this volunteer information to maintain their topographic databases; however, the main concern is the quality of the data. The purpose of this study is to assess whether it is feasible to use VGI to update authoritative databases, specifically in South Africa.

The data from OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is one of the most successful VGI initiatives, was compared to a reference data set provided by the NMA of South Africa i.e. the Chief Directorate: National Geo-Spatial Information (CD: NGI). The results demonstrate that the OSM quality is heterogeneous across South Africa. Some of the quality measures are higher, while others are lower than that stipulated by the CD: NGI. OSM data is therefore not within CD: NGI’s national mapping requirements.

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