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Travel impedance agreement among online road network data providers

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Online mapping providers offer unprecedented access to spatial data and analytical tools; however, the number of analytical queries that can be requested is usually limited. As such, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) services offer a viable alternative, provided that the quality of the underlying spatialtheir data is adequate. In this paper, we evaluate the agreement in travel impedance between estimates from MapQuest Open, which embraces OpenStreetMap (OSM) data–a is based on VGI datasetfrom OpenStreetMap (OSM), and estimates from two other popular commercial providers, namely Google Maps™ and ArcGIS™ Online. Our framework is articulated around three components, which simulates potentialcalculates shortest routes, estimates their travel impedance using a routing service Application Program Interface (API), and extracts the average number of contributors for each route. We develop an experimental setup with a simulated dataset for the state of North Carolina. Our results suggest a strong correlation of travel impedance among all three road network providers. and that travel impedanceThe agreement is the greatest in areas with a denser road network and the smallest for routes of shorter distances. Most importantly, tTravel estimates from MapQuest Open are nearly identical to both commercial providers when the average number of OSM contributors along the route is larger. The latter finding contributes to a growing body of literature on Linus’s law, recognizing that a larger group of contributors holds the potential to validate and correct inherent errors to the source dataset.
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Keywords: Geographic Information Systems (GIS); Linus’s law; Open Street Map (OSM); Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI); travel impedance; uncertainty

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and Center for Applied GIS, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA 2: American Association of Geographers, Washington, DC, NW, USA 3: Department of Geography and Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

Publication date: June 3, 2019

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