Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Governance of corporate or volunteered spatial data infrastructures

Generally, governmental spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) attract most of the scientific attention. This is also the case when looking at studies who examine (parts of) the governance of spatial data infrastructures. Little attention goes to SDIs of companies or SDIs which are grounded in volunteerism like OpenStreetMap. How are they governed? Is this comparable with governmental SDIs?

The organisation of governmental spatial data infrastructures can be quite complex: there are a lot of policies, regulations, standards and stakeholders to be taken into account. Therefore, it is not surprising that the subject of SDI governance puzzles both scientists and practitioners.

But is the governance of a corporate or volunteered spatial data infrastructure less complex? Or are there other drivers and internal structures which make the governing system of private and volunteered spatial data infrastructures comparable to governmental SDIs? In this research you will need to examine the governance of a few SDIs in order to answer this question.

Objectives and Research questions

  • Examine and analyse the governing system of the chosen spatial data infrastructures
  • Compare this with research on governmental spatial data infrastructure to determine the similarities and differences on SDI governance.


  • When studying a private SDI it will be helpful to already have a company agreeing on collaborating with this research.

Literature and information

Sjoukema 2021 – Governance Dynamics of Spatial Data Infrastructures.

Expected reading list before starting the thesis research

  • Sjoukema, Jaap-Willem, Arnold K Bregt, and Joep Crompvoets. 2020. “Understanding Governance Dynamics: The Governing System of Spatial Data Infrastructures.” International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructures Research 15,
  • Sjoukema J-W, Samia J, Bregt AK, Crompvoets J. The Governance of INSPIRE: Evaluating and Exploring Governance Scenarios for the European Spatial Data Infrastructure. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2022; 11(2):141.

Theme: Empowering & engaging communities