Sunday, May 16, 2010

Choosing a participatory mapping method versus another

PGIS practitioners make use of a range of low and high tech geographic information technologies for acquisition, validation, analysis, representation and sharing of geo-spatial information. There are a number of factors that influence the choice of one method over another or the combination of more than one method. Factors include the ‘purpose behind the initiative’, the ‘resources available’ and the ‘institutional setting or environment’.
The choice of method should emanate predominantly from within the community . Participatory maps often represent a socially or culturally distinct understanding of land and seascapes and include information that is excluded from mainstream maps. These usually represent the views of the dominant sectors of society. Participatory maps can pose alternatives to the languages and images of the existing power structures and become a medium of empowerment by allowing local communities to represent themselves spatially.

For this reason, participatory maps should be made through an inclusive process at community level. The higher the level of participation by all members of the community, the more beneficial the outcome because the final maps, and related outputs like multimedia, will reflect the collective knowledge, concerns and aspirations.

In September 2010, CTA and IFAD will launch a Training Kit dedicated to “Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication” and having the specific objective of supporting the spread of good practice in generating, managing, analysing and communicating spatial information. More information on the training kit will be made available on the Internet and on this blog.

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