Ricker presentation at GEOIDE 2009
Citizens As Environmental Change Sensors: A Case Study Of Barbados, Britta Ricker and Renee Sieber. The Geoweb is unique due to its low overhead cost, its hackablity and the availability of large and diverse data sets. Applications such as Google Earth and Google Maps are increasing the public’s awareness and comfort with geospatial thinking. The Geoweb is important to the study of Geomatics because of the increasing number of opportunities to share spatial data. A wide audience of Internet users has tapped into the abundance of free and straightforward applications available on the web. The Geoweb has presented an opportunity to share new types of data in the form of photographs, audio, and videos. Users are able to add their own volunteered geographic information (VGI) for other Internet users to observe. Further, users are able act as sensors reporting on their local environment. This research explores the opportunity to use VGI to communicate environmental change concerns of Barbadians on the Geoweb. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to environmental changes. Scientific data reveals that SIDSs are at high risk of losing valuable resources to sea level rise and temperature changes. Economic hardship could occur from beach erosion, fewer tourists, coral bleaching, and an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes. Spatial data representing some of these vulnerabilities to climate change are available to selected government officials and Non Governmental Organizations. This spatial data does not reveal what the local environmental changes mean to the people living in these regions. During this research project, I spent to Barbados two months and asked forty‐one Barbadians what environmental changes they have noticed. I then asked the participants to report these changes on a Google My Map. In this poster I will describe the results of utilizing the participatory Geoweb to engage Barbadians in a dialogue about environmental change and their interaction with the Geoweb. Some participants were actively engaged with the user interface while others less so highlighting several barriers to current engagement.