GIS systems and public participation

11.4.2014 Simon Bradley

PPGIS or Public Participation Geographic Information system was a term coined by the National Centre for Geographic Information and Analysis, in the USA. It aims to cover the academic methods in GIS and help in mapping local details to enhance the knowledge of the places where we live.

This method is aimed at marginal groups of populations so that they also progress along with other sections of society. By learning about the geographic parameters and participation, GIS methods contribute to enhance living conditions.

In the areas of decision making, public participation apart from identifying common values, takes the shape of a instructive device. It helps create meaningful dialogue between decision makers and the people at large, helping to grow more trust, for development plans.

With the aid of Multi-criteria Decision Analysis of GIS, more informed decisions can be made. Through this methods all the participants, who may be the stakeholders, are taken into confidence to reach a consensus about the development plans. Such a method will help transparency in decision making and give credibility to the final results which builds upon the usual methods of meetings, focus groups, surveys, etc.

When the process is collaborative in nature, conflict of opinion and interest can be easily resolved, and it is towards this end GIS systems can contribute a great deal. GIS offers spatial devices like 3-D visuals that help people in educating people through new methods of audio/video presentations.

To ensure that the public concerns are addressed, we have to locate the conveniences like wind farms in places where it is acceptable to a larger public. This implies that while developing a farm land or an industrial area, it is necessary to take into account the opinion of the public.

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