Proposal for Project Varenius Specialist Meeting on "Empowerment,
Marginalization, and Public Participation GIS." This proposal is compiled
from various sources, including Krygier (1998a, 1999) and materials at the web
A short CV is appended to the end of this proposal.
Major WWW Components of this Project:
Public Participation Visualization: Conceptual and
Applied Research Issues Outline of issues relevant to the design of PPVIS
sites with associated internet links. This is an evolving outline.
Prototype Map Objects-based WWW Site:
Introduction and access to prototype WWW-based visualization and gis site
(currently being revised)
"The Design of A Web-based Geographic Information System
for Community Participation" by Keng-Pin Chang: Details about the
construction of the Prototype Map Objects-based WWW
Support for this project comes from the NCGIA Proposal Development Fund, NCGIA
Initiative 19, and the University at Buffalo Research Development Fund.
A short CV is appended to the end of this proposal.
Major WWW Components of this Project:
Public Participation Visualization: Conceptual and Applied Research Issues Outline of issues relevant to the design of PPVIS sites with associated internet links. This is an evolving outline.
Prototype Map Objects-based WWW Site: Introduction and access to prototype WWW-based visualization and gis site (currently being revised)
"The Design of A Web-based Geographic Information System for Community Participation" by Keng-Pin Chang: Details about the construction of the Prototype Map Objects-based WWW Site.
Support for this project comes from the NCGIA Proposal Development Fund, NCGIA Initiative 19, and the University at Buffalo Research Development Fund.
My research on Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) and what I am calling Public Participation Visualization (PPVis) consists of several interrelated research issues and a prototype PPGIS / PPVis WWW site developed with ESRI's Map Objects and Internet Map Server. This WWW site was developed for a low-income, inner city neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. I believe I could make a substantial contribution at the Specialist Meeting as I have a broad array of experiences and insights - from the theoretical to the practical. My most general goal with this research is to delineate a praxis (theorized practice) of PPVis and PPGIS: an explicit awareness of the concepts and theories of information, of what reality is, of people, social relations, and power and how these both shape and are shaped by socially-infused technologies such as PPVis and PPGIS.
I define Public Participation Visualization as an important component of PPGIS. Geographic visualization (GVis) has been conceptualized as predominantly private types of map use involving high human-map interaction wedded to exploratory analyses (MacEachren 1994). GVis Research has focused on particular users and applications: highly skilled scientists engaged in scientific research using advanced computing technologies. However, rapid advances in technology - and the World Wide Web (WWW) in particular - is allowing a much broader array of non-scientific users to engage in visualization-type map use. Developments in WWW-based programming languages are making highly interactive advanced GVIS and GIS applications available to anyone with a modem and internet browser. Users not only access geographic information, but can interactively explore 'what if' scenarios and actively amend and add information to publicly accessible WWW sites. Users can make and un-make information and thus shape and reshape the way they understand their neighborhood, region, county, or the world. This is an active process of "sense-making" with geographic information (from a diversity of sources), diverse representations (maps, images, text, sounds), used by diverse groups of people.
The practical issues surrounding the design and implementation of a PPVis and PPGIS World Wide Web site occupied my attention in the Summer and Fall of 1997. A small grant allowed me to enlist a graduate student to develop a prototype PPVis / PPGIS site using ESRI's Map Objects and Internet Map Server. The prototype site was developed for and in cooperation with an inner-city Buffalo community development center. The design and implementation of the site, along with numerous associated problems, has been documented in a Master's Project by K. Chang (Chang 1997). Documentation of the project has served as the basis of an evaluation of ESRI's Map Objects and Internet Map Server: what skills are needed to create such applications? What map and GIS functions are available? What hardware is necessary? How much time is involved? Is the approach taken viable and worth pursuing beyond the prototype stage?
Beyond the practical issues of implementing PPGIS and PPVis are many theoretical and conceptual issues. To reiterate, I am most concerned with developing a theoretically informed practice of PPVis and PPGIS: wedding conceptual and theoretical ideas to actual implementation of a site in a community. Some of the most important conceptual issues are described briefly:
The Medium and Site Content: Representation, the Visual Forms, Hypermedia and Intertextuality: PPVis is not only maps and GIS, but images, video, text, and sound (Krygier 1994). The way this diversity of interrelated representations are linked together must be carefully considered - the intellectual design of PPVis (Krygier 1999). This intellectual design is guided by social and other theories and should be, of course, open to modification by the users of the site. This component of my research focuses on the manner in which current concepts and theories in human geography and social theory relate to certain fundamental aspects of PPVis - the significance of interconnected representational forms, related to the idea of intertextuality (Cosgrove 1984, Krygier 1997b), the spatiality of the map, linked to the development of spatial components of social theory (Sayer 1992, Krygier 1995, 1996), and hypermedia, linked to hypertextual theory (Bolter 1991, Landow 1992, Krygier 1995, 1996).
Public Participation and Information Technology: The general context of PPGIS and PPVis, in the case of my research, focusing on the archival role of information as it relates to public participation, the public oversight role of PPGIS (post-decision participation), the problems associated with (too much?) public participation, and the role of what has been called 'non-threatening graphics." Non-threatening graphics are graphics that encourage rather than discourage participation, and I am generating characteristic non-threatening graphics for PPVis.
Social Aspects of Information Technology: Another element of the general context of PPGIS and PPVis. A research issue of particular interest to me is extending the idea of technology (in PPVis and PPGIS) to include activities and technologies beyond computers. For example, 'low' technologies such as paper, pencils, and the activity of door to door surveys will be an important element of PPVis and PPGIS, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. How do we 'convert' and assess local, analog information into a form appropriate for PPVis and PPGIS? My research on the role of maps and other visual representations in environmental disputes in the past will be used to bolster my research on PPVis and PPGIS (Krygier 1998b).
Access to Information Technology: Access to mapping, GIS, and visualization is becoming easier, however, one still must have access to a computer with a modem or internet connection as well as basic skills for using maps and GIS. The educational component of PPGIS and PPVis seems particularly important, and to this end research on "Naive Geography" - or 'informal geographic expertise' and 'common sense conceptions of the world' - may play an important role (Egenhofer and Mark 1995). The educational component of access also relates to research in geographic education (Krygier et al. 1997a), and work on 'non-threatening graphics.'
Evaluation: Evaluation is a complex and important issue: how do we assess the impact and consequences of the use of PPVis and PPGIS? I have modified a broad approach to evaluation described in an earlier paper (Krygier et al. 1997a) to fit the context of PPVis and PPGIS (partially described in Krygier 1999). An important component of evaluation for PPVis and PPGIS may be Brenda Dervin's Sense-Making approach (Dervin 199?, Gluck 1998). For practical purposes, Sense-Making has well tested methods and numerous applications in a diversity of fields. Sense-Making, then, is particularly viable as a means of evaluating and understanding the complex interactions between users and public participation visualization applications, as we are also dealing with diverse groups of users, making sense of complex information and dynamic scenarios.
A major advantage of Sense-Making is that it is based on the same conceptual and theoretical ideas which infuse contemporary human geography and social science. Sense-Making is based on a conception of humans moving through complex time/space contexts that is strikingly similar to Hagarstrand's Time Geography and Giddens structuration theory. Dervin brings these important theories into the realm of information design by arguing that all information is designed: "humans make it and un-make it" (Dervin 199?). In other words, Sense-Making provides both theory and methodology which help evaluate and guide the development of systems which not only deliver information to people, but which allow people to modify, change, and adapt the systems and information in the process of making sense out of the world. "Sense making ... explicitly privileges the ordinary person as necessarily a theorist involved in the development of ideas that provide guidance not only for understanding personal worlds but necessarily for understanding collective, historical, and social worlds as well" (Dervin 199?, p. ?). This is the goal of public participation visualization - to empower users rather than only provide information for them. Sense-Making can be a vital element of the praxis of PPVis: an explicit theoretically informed approach to information design which, as Dervin argues, assists "humans in the making and unmaking of their own informations, their own sense" (Dervin 199?). I am beginning to explore Sense-Making in the context of PPVis and should have preliminary ideas about this approach by the fall of 1998.
My ongoing research on public participation visualization and GIS has revealed a diversity of research issues and problems. As noted at the beginning of this proposal, my most general goal with this research is to delineate a theorized practice of PPVis and PPGIS: an explicit delineation of the theories of information, of reality, of people, social relations, and power and how these both shape and are shaped by socially-infused technologies such as PPVis and PPGIS. My participation in the Meeting on Empowerment, Marginalization, and Public Participation GIS would stress my specific experiences and my developing sense of the praxis of public participation visualization and GIS, how to make things work, how to evaluate what is happening, and how to know when to pull the plug.
Bolter, J. 1991. Writing Space. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Chang, K. 1997. "The Design of a Web-based Geographic Information System for Community Participation." Master's Project, State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Geography.
Cosgrove, D. 1984. Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape. Totawa NJ: Barnes and Noble.
Dervin, B. 199?. "Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making: A Proposed Theory for Information Design. [a revised version of this is to be published in a book called Information Design edited by R. Jacobson].
Egenhofer, M and D. Mark. 1995. "Naive Geography." In: A. Frank. Spatial Information Theory. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Gluck, M. 1998. "Interpreting Geospatial Representations: Social Semiotics for Cartographic Analysis." Paper presented at the 1998 Association of American Geographers Meeting, Boston MA.
Krygier, J. 1994. "Sound and Cartographic Visualization." In: D. Taylor and A. MacEachren, eds. Visualization in Modern Cartography. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Krygier, J. 1995. Visualization, Geography, and Landscape. PhD Dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Geography.
Krygier, J. 1996. "Geography and Cartographic Design." In: C. Wood and C. Keller. Cartographic Design: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. Chichester: Wiley. pp. 19-34.
Krygier, J. 1997a. "Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Multimedia Resources for Geography and Earth Science Education." Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 21:1. pp. 17-39.
Krygier, J. 1997b. "Envisioning the American West: Maps, The Representational Barrage of 19th Century Expedition Reports, and the Production of Scientific Knowledge."" Cartography and Geographical Information Systems 24:1. pp. 27-50.
Krygier, J. 1998a. "Public Participation Visualization." Paper presented at the 1998 Association of American Geographers Meeting, Boston MA.
Krygier, J. 1998b. "Project Ketch: Project Plowshare in Pennsylvania." Ecumene. (forthcoming)
Krygier, J. 1999. "Cartographic Multimedia and Praxis in Human Geography and the Social Sciences." Forthcoming in: W. Cartwright, M. Peterson, and G. Gartner, Multimedia Cartography. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Landow, G. 1992. Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
MacEachren, A. 1994. "Visualization in Modern Cartography: Setting the Agenda." In: A. MacEachren and D. Taylor. Visualization in Modern Cartography. Oxford: Pergamon. pp. 1-12.
Sayer, A. 1992. Method in Social Science: A Realist Approach. London: Routledge.
Short Curriculum Vitae
John B. Krygier
John Krygier is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Krygier's interests are in cartography, visualization, geographic information science (GIS), and human geography. Krygier has published papers on the history of cartography, cartographic design, educational multimedia, the use of sound to represent information, map animation and visualization, and environmental conflicts. Krygier's current research includes work on the use of world wide web (WWW) based mapping, visualization, and GIS in low-income communities to enhance public participation (a prototype WWW application for a low-income Buffalo neighborhood has been produced), research on economically and socially marginalized areas, and research on multimedia and hypermedia in geography. Preliminary materials related to these research projects are available at Krygier's WWW site (specific links are noted below).
Relevant Publications and Presentations
1999: Krygier, J. "Cartographic Multimedia and Praxis in Human Geography and the Social Sciences." Forthcoming in: W. Cartwright, M. Peterson, and G. Gartner, Multimedia Cartography. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. (forthcoming)
1998: Krygier, J.B. "Project Ketch: Project Plowshare in Pennsylvania." Ecumene. (forthcoming)
1998: Krygier, J. "Public Participation Visualization." Paper presented at the 1998 Association of American Geographers Meeting, Boston MA.
1997: Krygier, J.B. "Envisioning the American West." Cartography and Geographic Information Systems 34:1.
1997: Krygier, J.B., C. Reeves, D. DiBiase, and J. Cupp. "Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Multimedia Resources for Geography and Earth Science Education." Journal of Geography in Higher Education 21:1. pp. 17-39.