digital divide

The Geoweb and the Rural Digital Divide


Workshop on Connecting Rural Communities through the Geoweb

Dates & Location: Thursday to Saturday, November 18-20th, 2010 at

McGill University Montreal, QC 

Hosted by: Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre (GEC3) &

GEOIDE Network’s (Team 41): Participatory Geoweb for Engaging the Public on Global Environmental Change


The geospatial Web 2.0 (Geoweb), the combination of technologies like Google Earth and social networking, has revolutionized how non-experts can volunteer geographic information. From Open Street Map to trip advisor, new technologies have changed how citizens can communicate about place. An emerging theme is its potential use in rural communities to communicate and mitigate environmental issues (e.g. our team’s development of We are organizing a workshop to bring together academic researchers, government and community affiliates who are interested in this area. Our intention is to foster rural research applications in Canada as part of the current GEC3 and GEOIDE collaborative research program.

Over the last 2 years, researchers with GEOIDE Network’s Team 41 and GEC3 have identified areas of interest through their work in rural regions in Canada including concerns around access and skills. In Canada regions outside of urban centers have limited ability to access the high-speed Internet that is required for many Geoweb applications to properly function. Another aspect is the growing division of skill level within and between communities that inhibit Geoweb use in rural regions. Preliminary research suggests the Geoweb can be beneficial to communities that are geographically separated from each other and urban centers.

Exploring the Geoweb in rural communities presents a unique opportunity for investigation to strengthen our understanding of the applications of the Geoweb in rural setting. The workshop is intended to develop a national rural research node that can further contribute to this important area of inquiry.

The workshop intends to be an opportunity to foster our experiences into pertinent research outcomes and actions for participants interested in this area. Exploring challenges and successes while identifying further questions, learning from our peers and from keynote researchers will provide a platform to form a research direction for this topical area. Participants will have an opportunity to present on their research, in addition from learning from other researcher’s experiences. The workshop will culminate with a research action plan that will synthesize the major findings presented and discussed over the two days.


Open with no cost to GEOIDE team 41 and GEC3 network students, faculty and affiliates. 

Contact: Pamela Tudge



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