Investigating the potential of OpenStreetMap for land use/land cover production: A case study for continental Portugal

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In the last decade, volunteers have been contributing massively to what we know nowadays as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Through the research that has been conducted recently, it has become clear that this huge amount of information might hide interesting and rich geographical information. The OpenStreetMap (OSM) project is one of the most well-known and studied VGI initiatives. It has been studied to identify its potential for different applications. In the field of Land Use/Cover, an earlier study by the authors explored the use of OSM for Land Use/Cover (LULC) validation. Using the COoRdination of INformation on the Environment (CORINE) Land Cover (CLC) database as the Land Use reference data, they analyzed the OSM coverage and classification accuracy, finding an interesting global accuracy value of 76.7 % for level 1 land classes, for the study area of continental Portugal, despite a very small coverage value of approximately 3.27 %. In this chapter we review the existing literature on using OSM data for LULC database production and move this research forwards by exploring the suitability of the OSM Points of Interest dataset. We conclude that OSM can give very interesting contributions and that the OSM Points of Interest dataset is suitable for those classified as CLC class 1 which represents artificial surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-293
Number of pages21
JournalLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
Issue number9783319142791
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Land cover
  • Land use
  • OpenStreetMap (OSM)
  • Volunteered geographic information (VGI)


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