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Exploring community participation using the Geospatial Web : a case study from the Central Okanagan, British Columbia

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Title: Exploring community participation using the Geospatial Web : a case study from the Central Okanagan, British Columbia
Author: Wright, Shayne
Degree: Master of Arts - MA
Program: Interdisciplinary Studies
Copyright Date: 2012
Issue Date: 2012-08-17
Publisher University of British Columbia
Abstract: The idea that map-making by communities can lead to local change is well established. Through a collaborative case study involving a community-university partnership with a local food organization, I explored community participation in mapping using the Geospatial Web (Geoweb). Widespread public access to the infrastructure of the Internet and the growing use of web-based mapping tools by amateur citizens has led to great enthusiasm for the participatory potential offered by the Geoweb. To better understand this potential, our partnership developed a customized web-based participatory mapping tool named Geolive, which was then used during three participatory mapping sessions in varying contexts in British Columbia’s Central Okanagan Regional District. Through Community-Based Research methods, I gathered information using interviews, survey questionnaires, participant observation, and participatory mapping on the Geoweb. As participants linked their knowledge to existing or new digital map features through geo-located community discussions, I examined their experiences and the types of participation that resulted. First, 63 university students participated together in-class. Then 54 public attendees joined us individually over two days at the local Farmer’s Market. Finally, 45 students participated from home in dispersed locations. Results from each of the participatory mapping sessions varied with respect to the map contributions, to what the participants learned, and to their ratings of effectiveness. From these results, I identified three participation types that occurred with declining frequency, beginning with access, followed in some of these cases by engagement with the process, and then in fewer cases ending with a change in critical consciousness or awareness. The Geoweb supported discussion and gathering of place-based knowledge through a socially and procedurally differentiated process.
Affiliation: Arts, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/42960
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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