Privacy Policy


Thank you for your willingness to contribute to Geo-Wiki. This document aims to provide you with adequate information on the data we receive from you, how we process it, and what we make available to the public in order to comply with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Our Platform

Geo-Wiki is a project founded in 2009 by the project partners the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt and University of Freiburg.

The Geo-Wiki Project is a global network of volunteers who wish to help improve the quality of global land cover maps. Since large differences occur between existing global land cover maps, current ecosystem and land-use science lacks crucial accurate data (e.g. to determine the potential of additional agricultural land available to grow crops in Africa). Volunteers are asked to review hotspot maps of global land cover disagreement and determine, based on what they actually see in Google Earth and their local knowledge, if the land cover maps are correct or incorrect. Their input is recorded in a database, along with uploaded photos, to be used in the future for the creation of a new and improved global land cover map. 


What is personal data?

“Personal data” means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, such as their name, contact information, their location at a certain time or IP address.


Data processed by us

We are a scientific institute and process personal data for a scientific study on the changes in our landscape and their effects on the environment. We process personal data:

  • for which you have given us consent for a specific purpose (Art. 6 para 1 lit a GDPR), namely for the conduction of this scientific study
  • that is necessary for the performance of a contract (Art. 6 para 1 lit b GDPR), e.g. PayPal data to transfer rewards
  • that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest (Art. 6 para 1 lit e GDPR), namely for the conduction of this scientific study; that is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party (Art. 6 para 1 lit f GDPR), e.g. avoiding legal disputes about rights in the contributions. If possible, we seek the explicit consent to the processing of data, in particular the disclosure to third parties (Art. 6 para. 1 lit. a GDPR). Below is a list of types of data the app collects. Please note that a copy of the data might be briefly stored in the server's memory for a short period. This data is temporarily stored apart from the database, managed and deleted automatically by the server's operating system and will not be accessed by us for processing, archiving, or any other reason. It is also possible through logging errors or general requests that submitted data be stored in one of the server's log files. These files are not publicly accessible and are not used for any processing, storage or data publication other than for resolving a possible software problem. These are technical necessities over which we have no control.


Registration/Login/Profile Update

We process the following data for registration, login and profile updates for a given user, all of which is stored on the platform:

  • Email address
  • User password (encrypted)
  • User name
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Hometown
  • Additional attributes provided by user (biological gender, profession)

None of this information will be part of any publication (e.g. data product, scientific publication etc). For publications, a technical procedure (hash) will be used on the user's id to preserve data regarding which contributions were made by the same person. This hash does not allow for the calculation or retrieval of the original user id.


Log Data

Whenever you use our service, we collect Log Data, or data and information (also through third party products) on your phone to identify errors in the app. Log Data may include information such as your device Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, device name, operating system version, the configuration of the app when utilizing our Service, the time and date of your use of the service, and other statistics. This data is used for identifying problems with our software and will not be published as part of the resulting data product.



We use first party cookies to provide essential site functionality. Cookies are small text files that are saved by your browser and temporarily stored on your device.

Provided that you have consented to the use of cookies, our website uses Google Analytics, a web analysis service of Google LLC. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses cookies to help understand how the website is being used. In order to do so, information about your visit, including parts of your IP Address, may be transmitted, stored and processed on a Google server in the USA or another non-EU state. 

You can also prevent the placement of cookies through the settings of your browser or by downloading and installing the browser plug-in.


Data Contribution

Geo-Wiki is not collecting personal data on top of the information listed under the point Registration/Login/Profile Update. 


Data storage

The websites and its service are run on state-of-the-art web service environments hosted on rented servers at Hetzner Online GmbH, Industriestrasse 25, 91710 Gunzenhausen, Germany. We do not provide any means to access data for the hosting company other than the ways intended for every user. The environment is set up such that we restrict access to the database strictly to our trusted network and through APIs that let us choose exactly which data is accessible to which users.

Regarding the use of cookies, please see above. Information about your visit, including parts of your IP Address, may be transmitted, stored and processed on a Google server in the USA or another non-EU state.

After completion of the scientific project, all personal data are permanently anonymized so that traceability to individual users will not be possible unless users have explicitly asked us to safe and publish their personal data.


Data contributions

Please be aware that we rely on you to contribute data, which does not infringe on the rights of others. Make sure you follow the instructions for the campaign/project to which you contribute, and do not submit data that could violate especially personal rights, copyright or other legislation. By contributing data, you provide us with the information requested in the app/website, but we usually also collect additional data that allows us to trace technical problems and verify the quality of the contribution. Please see the details above.

By contributing data, you grant IIASA a license to use this data. Please see also our Terms of Use.


Third parties

Please note that we may employ the following third-party companies to facilitate our service:

These companies will have access to your data in order to perform the tasks we assign to them, as described above. However, they are obligated to not disclose or use the information for any other purpose.

Should you consent to the use of your user name in our social media platforms, it will be visible in connection with the photos you submitted or in connection with a leaderboard displaying your total credit note on:

  • Facebook (operated by Facebook, Inc., 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, California 94025; and Facebook Ireland Ltd., 4 Grand Canal Square, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin 2 Ireland)
  • Twitter (operated by Twitter International Company, One Cumberland Place, Fenian Street Dublin 2, D02 AX07 Ireland; and 1355 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States)

Google LLC, Facebook, Twitter have their seat in the US and comply with “Privacy Shield”. According to a decision by the European Commission this guarantees an adequate level of data protection.


Rights of the user

At any time, you have the right

  • to request information as to which of your data we process (Art. 15 GDPR),
  • to request the rectification or erasure of your data (Art. 16 and Art. 17 GDPR),
  • to restrict the processing of your data (Art. 18 GDPR),
  • to request the transmission of your data (Art. 20 GDPR);
  • to file a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular the Austrian data protection authority ( or the data protection authority at your place of residence.

You can instruct us to stop processing your data at any time using the contact data below. Even if you have agreed to the processing of data in the past, you can revoke such consent at any time (Art. 21 GDPR).

Should you have questions concerning your personal data, please contact us using the contact information below.


Third party apps and websites

Our app and/or website may contain links to other websites. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that site. Please note that these external sites are not operated by us and we do not have any control, nor assume any responsibility for their content, privacy policies or practices.

We therefore strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of those websites.


Contact Us

If you have any questions or suggestions about our Privacy Policy, do not hesitate to contact us:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria.

Tel: + 43 2236 807 0


* indicates required

Geo-Wiki (operated by IIASA in Austria) will use the information you provide on this form to stay in touch and provide you with updates and information on new and upcoming campaigns. Please tell us how you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information responsibly. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.