Public Participation Geographic Information Systems: A Literature Review and Framework


Correspondence: Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 4K6; e-mail:


Public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) pertains to the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to broaden public involvement in policymaking as well as to the value of GIS to promote the goals of nongovernmental organizations, grassroots groups, and community-based organizations. The article first traces the social history of PPGIS. It then argues that PPGIS has been socially constructed by a broad set of actors in research across disciplines and in practice across sectors. This produced and reproduced concept is then explicated through four major themes found across the breadth of the PPGIS literature: place and people, technology and data, process, and outcome and evaluation. The themes constitute a framework for evaluating current PPGIS activities and a roadmap for future PPGIS research and practice.