The Internet has spawned the development of virtual communities or virtual social networks which generate and share information with one another, and with the public at large. Volunteered geographical information (VGI) refers to user-generated content that is made available as base data on public mapping web sites or as third party data overlaid on virtual globes such as Google Earth and NASA World Wind. Several attempts have been made to determine and categorise what motivates the contributors of VGI. However, while the contributors themselves might generally understand VGI, this is not necessarily the case amongst geographical information professionals at large. We used a questionnaire to explore this by gathering some data on the perceptions held by geographical information professionals of virtual globes, VGI and spatial data infrastructures (SDI). These perceptions are important because they influence how VGI and virtual globes will be used in future in the more formal SDI environments of official mapping agencies and other official custodians of spatial data. The questionnaire was administered at a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 2009 and at another in Ekurhuleni, South Africa, in June 2009. The results are reported on here. Some of the results confirm previous research, while others raise questions that warrant further research.