Public Participation on the Geospatial Web (2016)

This article concludes that unitizing participation eventually hurts data quality.  Sieber also concludes that in many cases, VGI is an imperfect method for lack of traditional expertise. The cases examined in this article fall under the same umbrella of VGI applications for the public good, or specifically for narrowing the G2C relationship. The cases also all appear to require quite active participation in the form of content contribution.

I would argue that the four “avenues” discussed in the conclusion can be seen differently when examining PPGIS in the private sector. Many of the difficulties expressed in the articles vis-à-vis lowering barriers to participation are ameliorated in a private VGI effort. The private sector has more resources to develop friendlier GUIs. The issue of digital inequality would not be solved and participation by rural residents would likely still be stunted, however, passive participation such as location-sharing or simple multiple-choice prompts could see success in the form of quantity.

I think that additional research on the motivators behind citizen participation is a necessary step forward for this field of research. The article notes that PPGIS applications often maintain a facade of C2G proximity. If the desire for a louder voice in government supersedes that of “citizen science” or community-building, PPGIS projects should adapt and find a way to emphasize recognition and immediate response to citizen participation.

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