What is Participatory GIS? P-GIS is what happens digitally to the data collected from community mapping projects. Community mapping is a method where participants are encouraged to use a map to put across their ideas and knowledge surrounding local issues. This process can use traditional methods like interviews, questions and focus groups, but is centred on a map (or maps) to connect issues with locations. P-GIS is the process of digitising that information, allowing it to be analysed on computer GIS software and outputs to be communicated through computer-drawn map outputs.
Participatory GIS will ideally involve a broad range of people from the local community who feel comfortable and supported throughout the process. Doing this really integrates Sustainable Development Goal 11.3.2 and the concept of a “direct participation structure of civil society in urban planning and management that operate regularly and democratically”.
How can I do it? For more information on community mapping and P-GIS, see the resource produced by Steve Cinderby (Stockholm Environment Institute, Environment Department, University of York) and John Forrester (York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA) and Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York) which is a step-by-step guide designed for all levels of understanding of the concept. ()
There are also a range of online video guides and slides on the topic. The video guides describe in detail the steps needed to prepare for community consultations using maps, examples of collection methods and then detailed information on how convert participatory maps into digital spatial databases. Finally there are example slide resources on how you can use community mapping and PGIS to improve environmental decision making outcomes, in addition to a series of video guides.
For more PGIS news you can follow Steve on Twitter @s_cinderby_SEI or for more information and all the latest global news on PGIS you can also follow the IAPD blog