Characterizing place: an empirical comparison between user-generated content and free-listing data

Thursday Sep 29   03:30 PM to 05:30 PM (2 hours)
place descriptionuser generated contentcrowdsourcingfree-listing elicitationlandscape categorization
Methods to gather information from the public about place range from ethnographic approaches such as free listing to automatic extraction from user-generated content. We compared aspects of place (location, locale and sense of place) contained in free lists elicited from participants recruited on site with tags from georeferenced Flickr images. Using manual annotation we assigned content as toponyms (location), landscape elements (locale) and feelings (sense of place). Flickr tags contained more toponyms than free-listing data, but almost no information relating to feelings. Landscape elements were prominent in both data sets, with those captured by free lists and Flickr being cognitively more salient than those only captured by free listing, suggesting they represent basic levels. In Flickr, landscape elements consisted of basic levels in different languages (e.g. mountain, Berg), while free lists contained landscape elements both at the basic and subordinate level (e.g. Arvenwälder, arolla pine forests). We conclude that both methods yielded information about locale, with Flickr contributing basic levels and free lists also more detailed information, but that Flickr provided little information about sense of place compared to in situ free-listing elicitation with participants.
Geography Department, University of Zurich

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