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PPGIS Group Project

This is for the PPGIS Project Group discussions related to their project.


Ben Butzow
Anne Wiegand
Clay Cottingham

Statement for Group Project
GEOG 5563
March 28, 2006

Title: Getting Your Feet Wet: An Introduction to Public Participation Geographical Information Systems

This group project will provide a broad introduction to four main topic areas. They include why PPGIS is important, general steps to implement a PPGIS, the ethics involved with PPGIS and a case study. The group project will also create a brochure to introduce community members to PPGIS and additional resources as well as a PowerPoint.

Why PPGIS is important
This section will explain how the significance of the PPGIS concept stems from the desire to make publicly available technologies and methods previously accessible only to those in the scientific or corporate world. The visual display and manipulation of geographic information is a powerful tool that has the potential to benefit large sectors of society, in particular groups working to improve the condition of their neighborhoods. It is important that community organizations have available to them the display and analysis capabilities of GIS in order to entertain the idea of a level playing field versus competing interests.

How to implement a PPGIS
In recent years there has been considerable research on the topic of PPGIS implementation. From a review of the literature, we will present a handful of common hurdles that need to be overcome in order to succeed at GIS integration within a community group. For instance, one of the more difficult tasks of "selling" a PPGIS involves convincing the organization of the technologies usefulness.

Other concerns and issues include the high cost of software and hardware, the cost of training group members in proper software use, and the availability data. This section will first demonstrate how previous groups have benefited from the use of GIS, provide information on data resources, and indicate which local organizations such as universities have resources available to aid in the process of implementing a PPGIS. This will educate Twin Cities community groups how to facilitate the implementation of a PPGIS.

Ethics of a PPGIS
This section will address general issues of GIS ethics and well as some specific ethical issues pertaining to public participation GIS. Developing a code of ethics for GIS users is a very important topic, however, it is too broad in scope for this project. However, ethical considerations are too important to leave out of this discussion of PPGIS, therefore this section will give a broad introduction to three main topics.

The first topic includes a discussion of the top ten ethical issues for GIS users to consider. The second topic will be highlighting the tension between data access and intellectual property rights. The final topic will include consideration of how PPGIS can either disenfranchise or enfranchise community members and the ethical considerations of that process.

Case Study
An important case study involves the public participation of community members in Milwaukee. PPGIS had been implemented in Milwaukee well before the case study presented by Ghose and Elwood. The participation of Milwaukee’s community members has increased an effort to battle crime, disinvestment, poverty, unemployment, and urban flight. Ghose and Elwood describe the roles played by governmental and non-governmental institutions in their efforts to increase public participation in GIS.

The main reason why PPGIS has been successful in Milwaukee is due to the accessibility to data, data development, and data sharing among all members associated with PPGIS development. Additionally, the Neighborhood Strategic Plan (NSP) has increased public participation in Milwaukee by allowing community members to identify the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and possibilities within their community. These members are then able to use these ideas to look into neighborhood statistics, spatial and thematic maps in their strategic plan.

This project is not a comprehensive or detailed survey of all aspects of public participation GIS. Rather, this group paper is a broad synthesis of some of the more important concepts of PPGIS. Most importantly, this paper seeks to generate interest in community members to they will explore how valuable GIS can be for visualizing and representing important social, economic and ecological phenomena.

This information will be in a 2,000+ word essay, plus annotated bibliography that will serve as a future reference list for interested community groups, plus a PowerPoint, as well as a brochure that could be passed out to community groups in the Twin Cities.

We hope to have a rough draft of the 2,000 word statement done this week.

Next week will will work on finishing the annotated bib- we decided to have at least 15 sources, but probably no more than 20 due to time constraints.

We will also work on drafting the brochure next week too.

We also might change the case study section to be more focused on Twin Cities examples.

If anyone has any local expericence with GIS and community members, feel free to post.

Next semester I will be taking a Public Affairs class on neighborhood revitalization strategies and theories, so this will be helpful beyond this class.

Hey guys,

any idea what we need prepared for tonights class? i tried to post thoses sources on the blog but they obviously didn't make it. i'll try posting again and bring a copy to class. see you then.

Those interested are most welcome to the Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies http://www.ppgis.net

PPgis.net is a global avenue for discussing issues related to community mapping, Participatory GIS and other geospatial information technologies and systems supporting integrated conservation and development, sustainable NRM and customary rights in developing countries. Members can share information and lessons learned, and post questions, documents and announcements relevant to the practice.

Dear all,

Here is the largest source of bibliography on PPGIS/PGIS.

You are most welcome to contribute with other references.

Thanks for this great website. I am trying to read some more posts but I cant get your website to display properly in my Opera Browser. Thanks again.

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