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Introduction to Public Participation Geographic: Special Issue
Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (2013)
  • Michelle M Thompson, University of New Orleans
  • Kelly D Owens, Dillard University

With the progression of PPGIS, variations in the technology’s adaptability and application have brought forth critiques related to access, technology, and time. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) permeates a global market and technology appears to drive social, economic and civic progress with varying outcomes. Residents, advocates, and community organizations are utilizing democratized data in ways that early PPGIS investors could not have imagined. However, while many applaud the ability to create a trinity with data serving as a neutral partner, some wonder if any advancement has been made. A major critique of PPGIS is the inability to have a sustained, longitudinal impact that applies a ‘middle through’ approach of GIS theory to practice or praxis (Ferreira 1998; Thompson 2011). Also, the potential for mismanaging or intentionally misrepresenting information has increased significantly with the use of spatial data (Monmonier 1996). Adding to the PPGIS conundrum is Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) accompanied by increased concerns about data integrity, accuracy and reliability (Thompson 2011). With the inclusion of public data, the ability to shape public policy has improved but not equally in rural and urban environments. URISA’s Special Issue on PPGIS addresses many of these critiques. Our authors report on innovative utilization of PPGIS that allows for increased community participation in the development of spatial tools and VGI data. The reliance on an intermediary, such as a university, for creation of base maps, GIS programming, data development or analysis is desired but not required. A number of ‘plug and play’ internet mapping services have decreased or eliminated the issues of access and cost that hampered successful development of earlier PPGIS projects. Data reliability has increased with the integration of community and municipal data within the same platform. Essentially, these developments have helped to create a new era, if not a new PPGIS.

  • public participation geographic information systems,
  • planning
Publication Date
Winter January 1, 2013
Publisher Statement
Thompson, Michelle M. and Owens, Kelly D., "Introduction to Public Participation Geographic Information Systems Special Issue" (2012). Planning and Urban Studies Faculty Publications. Paper 3.: 6 -7
Citation Information
Michelle M Thompson and Kelly D Owens. "Introduction to Public Participation Geographic: Special Issue" Urban and Regional Information Systems Association Vol. 24 Iss. 2 (2013)
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