Public participation in GIS is a tricky thing. How do we find the balance between user friendliness and functionality. Today I participated in Peck’s HIC survey and discovered a few things with Google maps. When I first started using Google maps, many of the functions appeared on the map itself. Things like measuring tools and selecting different types of labels. Since then, it appears as though many of these options have been hidden away, only accessible after you enable them. On one side of the coin, I appreciate what Google is trying to do. They’re trying to streamline the system in order to target their system towards the general public. In doing this however, they may lose the clients looking for a more personalized. I will argue, however, that for those looking for a more specialized tool, there are better options such arcMap etc. So much of the programming is now built into Google.
A new type of PPGIS has emerged in recent years. Oddran Uran (2003) writes that it involves users and smart boards and GIS. Instead of have a mouse and keyboard interface, the new PPGIS uses a smart board to help the community in public consultation better communicate their ideas with planners. One of decision support systems’ goals is to increase the quality of communication between the community and planners. This innovative interface seems to have really helped the communication between specialized users and amateur gis users.
New technology seems to be appearing everyday to aid in the communication between specialists and casual users. This is just one example of how the gap is being bridged.