Since January 2020, Susanne Schröder-Bergen is a PhD student and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Geography at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Her research interests concern the role of local expertise in the production of geographic knowledge in the successful VGI project OpenStreetMap.
The “localness” of data is often described as a major factor for the authenticity of (geo-) information in OpenStreetMap. However, the exact meaning and relevance of “localness” remain controversial. We compare proposals made for the “measurement”, i.e. for the empirical operationalization, of “localness”. Based on this, two convincing operationalizations were selected and implemented in order to contrast regional differences in “localness”. Our analysis allows the identification of regions in which exceptionally high proportions of data are mapped remotely – mostly regions in the Global South. Bearing this in mind, we discuss how “localness” is negotiated in the OSM community.