Public Participation in the Geospatial Web

The way that neography is presented in this article sounds incredibly exciting. It presents itself as a radical counterpoint to the ubiquitous and predatorial cultivation of data from powerful private interests. The organizations discussed in this article all seemed to have altruistic measures with the reasons given for volunteer participation also reflecting that point of view. Volunteer participation stems from altruism, or pride of a place or open source convictions. In a large way this would reflect a kind of civic duty that I feel is still not ubiquitously recognized. I think of the digital divide discussed in the article, with different ontologies of the internet being in play.
I had the impression while reading this article that there these organizations had a poor level of communication with many of their volunteers. I think of the example of the blurring line of experts and nonexperts, and the anxieties contributors had of the validity of their own data. Perhaps these organizations are not properly reaching out and stating what kind of information they are looking for. This, I feel, stems from a lack of financial resources. This is often a problem when dealing with political action from a grassroots level.
Before the P/GIS becomes a truly disruptive force in the current world, it must become part of the regular social mores of as many people as possible. This would require a better level amount of education of it amongst the public, and it may even perhaps need to become a proper political force. I can imagine that on a municipal level, P/GIS may be an incredibly powerful tool for political mobilization and community knowledge.


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