Geographic biases are 'born, not made': Exploring contributors' spatiotemporal behavior in OpenStreetMap

Jacob Thebault-Spieker, Brent Hecht, Loren G Terveen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations


The evolution of contributor behavior in peer production communities over time has been a subject of substantial interest in the social computing community. In this paper, we extend this literature to the geographic domain, exploring contribution behavior in OpenStreetMap using a spatiotemporal lens. In doing so, we observe a geographic version of a “born, not made” phenomenon: throughout their lifespans, contributors are relatively consistent in the places and types of places that they edit. We show how these “born, not made” trends may help explain the urban and socioeconomic coverage biases that have been observed in OpenStreetMap. We also discuss how our findings can help point towards solutions to these biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGROUP 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450355629
StatePublished - Jan 7 2018
Event2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, GROUP 2018 - Sanibel Island, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2018Jan 10 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work


Other2018 ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork, GROUP 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanibel Island

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Association for Computing Machinery.


  • Coverage biases
  • Geographic human-computer interaction
  • OpenStreetMap
  • Peer production


Dive into the research topics of 'Geographic biases are 'born, not made': Exploring contributors' spatiotemporal behavior in OpenStreetMap'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this