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PPGIS: From desktop to the GeoWeb

PPGIS: From desktop to the GeoWeb



Abstract: ...

Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) defines a practice where GIS technology and methods are used in support of public participation and decision making in a number of domain applications (Sieber, 2000). PPGIS is viewed as a top-down process where a central authority identifies a problem, the stakeholders and the best way to address it (Ghose, 2007). Current advances in the GeoWeb are challenging the top-down purview of PPGIS in that more citizens are directly engaging with tools that enable the collection and communication of place-based knowledge by non-experts. This emerging process raises pertinent questions, including: How is knowledge of place expressed, and to what extent is it relevant to PPGIS? This talk will highlight local research that centered on Edmonton’s river valley trail network where 17 informants were interviewed regarding their knowledge of place, in addition to their collection and communication of place-based information. This research will address the crowdsourcing of such information through the GeoWeb as a means of replacing traditional, authority controlled, PPGIS processes. We will demonstrate that individuals possess a complex, detailed and nuanced understanding of place. And, finally, we will discuss the current limits and future trends of the GeoWeb’s ability to capture that depth of understanding.



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  • Matthew DanceRecent MA grad in Geography from the UofA
  • Lynch was perhaps one of the first to use crowdsourced data in his research. He compiled mental maps of Boston, New York and Jersy City that were derived from interviews with people who lived within those cities. This could represent the first PPGIS
  • Themes such as:IsolationGetting away from it allConnecting with peopleDeeply personal and varied.
  • Thematic clusters around:Sports and recreation activitiesActivity routesImpressions of placeMemories of placeSpecial placesNotions of power relative to place
  • The main thing to see in this list is that many of these applications rely on OPEN DATA and CROWDSOURCED DATA for their operation. OSM crowdsources data to populate their base map, Ushahidi and crisis maps for their content. Sensitive content. BUT REALLY, is crowdsourced data a viable business opportunity?MAP BOX -- Data journalismWAZE - Traffic mappingThe addition of applications like Flickr, twitter and FB attempts to gain access to those data that are more qualitative – how a person feels about a place,
  • I support MapBox with a monthly subscription because they contribute to the OSM project AND they make beautiful maps. It is a matter of business for them.
  • The combination of these plus other emerging location based technologies will set the stage for a digital infrastructure that will define, in part, a new way of making places that goes beyond check-ins and maps that locate businesses and restaurant reviews.These data will be crowdsoucred and verified by …. The crowd.