Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) has defined a process to support public expression of place-based knowledge. The central weakness of this approach stems from a lack of collaboration support for groups of citizens. Recent GeoWeb advances are challenging PPGIS in this regard.
This research utilized a case study method centered on Edmonton’s river valley. Data was collected via 17 semi-structured interviews centered on users’ local knowledge, and their communication practices using mobile- and web-based GeoWeb technologies. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically. In addition, a cluster analysis was conducted on 79 GeoWeb applications to assess their utility for citizen collaboration.
It was found that the study cohort exhibits a nuanced understanding of place that cannot be fully captured by GeoWeb technologies. The cluster analysis corroborates this result - indicating that, in broad terms, the GeoWeb does not support collaboration, citizen based power structures, or a variety of data types and sources.
I have participated in a wide variety of open data projects that range from mapping data for the Provincial Government open data portal launch, to presenting in conjunction with the Edmonton Public Library on open data as a public good.
This project, 'Naming Edmonton' reflects on Edmonton's FNM peoples. Specifically, Edmonton has been continuously occupied for the past 8000 years. Sadly, the map of Edmonton does not reflect this rich First Nations and Metis historic and contemporary use. In fact, Edmonton has fewer than 200 places named after First Nations and Metis people, and no named places that reflect a FNM understanding of place or geography. This is a huge oversight that I am trying to address by making the names available at the City of Edmonton's Open Data Portal.
These data are currently in the approval process by the City of Edmonton. In the mean time, the spreadsheet can be found here.
It is well understood that there is a positive association between air pollution and emergency department visits for asthma in Alberta. Within this context, I explored the correlation between air quality, as measured by ambient and point source parameters, and asthma related ED visit rates in Alberta. I tested the following four hypotheses:
H1: As the proximity to point sources increases, the instance of asthma increases.
H2: As ambient air quality decreases, the instance of asthma increases.
H3: Urban areas will have poorer ambient air quality than rural areas.
H4: Urban areas will have a higher rate of asthma than rural areas.
Our results indicate that:
• There is a potential relationship between the proximity to point source emissions and asthma,
• There is a potential relationship between average and maximum levels of ground level ozone and asthma, and maximum levels of sulphur dioxide and asthma, but not between the average levels of SO2 and asthma.
• There is not a significant difference in ambient air quality between large urban areas and rural areas; and,
• Rural areas have higher rates of asthma than urban areas.
Please contact me if you are interested in having a look at this unpublished paper.
I like maps, and I like to make maps with free and open source software that includes QGIS, MapBox and CartoDB. I believe that visual representation can bring bland and flat data to life, as this map of parking lots (in black) found within Edmonton's downtown. I calculated that about 20% of the surface area in Edmonton's downtown was devoted to cars through roads or parking. More mapping project can be found by scrolling through my blog.
For many reasons the a new class of emerging air quality sensors represents a profound shift from the current regime of regulator controlled Air Quality monitoring. Specifically, the current model of AQ monitoring sees a regulator (government) define the AQ issue, the substances of concern, and the monitoring response to these top-down defined concerns. These new sensors have the potential to turn this model on its head by allowing, though citizen lead (though still early adopter) monitoring technology that is accessible to those who can afford a $200USD sensor, or have the knowhow to build their own via 3D printers and electronic schematics. In other words, the model shift from top down to bottom up where a citizen, or group of citizens, can define where monitoring should occur. As detailed in this post, the current AQ monitoring network focuses on a regional level of air quality. For instance, there are three sensors in Edmonton that provide a regional overview of the air quality through a metric called the Air Quality Health Indicator.
And while an emergent air quality monitoring technology has the potential to shift the balance of monitoring from government to citizens, these sensors are deficient in the data quality produced. Specifically, we are not sure if this class of sensor produces good data. As such I am working with some partners to test the data quality produced.
The Wiser Path Team from the University of Alberta, comprised of undergraduate & graduate learners, academic advisors, and City of Edmonton staff, and lead by me, was asked to build a collaborative Volunteer Geographic Information (VGI) user interface by the City of Edmonton. VGI refers to the tools and process to harnessing and distributing geographic information gleaned from volunteers.
This student project, with an associated database and collaborative elements (a geowiki and sharing tools), was built to assist with the public consultation processes associated with the LRT expansion (sadly this tool was never launched). Citizens were empowered to draw their alternative LRT routes on a map, and comment on those routes drawn by others, and thus share a local experience of place within a wider community, and potentially provide a unique 'on the ground' perspective.
Humanities 101 provides non-vocational training that aims to empower students to use critical thinking in everyday life and inspire a passion for lifelong learning. I was involved for two semesters where I was responsible for teaching the basic principals of maps and navigation. We also engaged the inner-city students in a place-making exercise where they defined how Edmonton's downtown meant to then by describing how they experience inner-city places and spaces. The course culminated with the construction and placement of geo-caches.
A mental map represents the perceptions and knowledge the a person has of an area. It is not meant to be accurate in a metric or topological sense, but rather reflect the specific understanding a person has of their local geography. During my MA research I asked each of my research subjects to produce a mental map of their favourite activity route, and this is one such map.