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Usability Issues in Applying Participatory Mapping for Neighborhood Infrastructure Planning

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Public participation is required in neighborhood infrastructure planning and problem-solving. Although Participatory GIS methods are considered important to help urban community groups identify problems and express their needs and concerns, usable means to help groups produce their maps remain difficult to be realised. Further, an effective means to facilitate the integration of government spatial plans and participatory maps also remains unclear. This article addresses usability issues in participatory mapping activities by exploring group collaboration mechanics and accomplishing use assessments. The study aims at testing the usefulness and the impact of participatory mapping for community development. User studies including questionnaire surveys, interviews, group usability testing, scenario assessments, and the scaling-up activity were executed. Transparent photomaps, Mobile GIS, and a Web map were implemented and assessed in the study area. A use scenario for community and official spatial data integration was also developed. The results of user studies show that the use of transparent photomaps is more effective to complete group tasks to discuss, draw, and annotate their infrastructure problems. For group participants, the transparent maps are more engaging, easy to learn, and more error tolerant than the use of Mobile GIS. A combination use of simple and advanced PGIS methods is necessary to be implemented to reach informed priority-decision making.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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