An assessment of Public Participation GIS and Web 2.0 technologies in urban planning practice in Canela, Brazil
Recent advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Web 2.0 technologies provide new ways of creating sophisticated Web applications that strengthen social interactions based on comments on online maps, which have the potential to improve Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) practices. In this paper, we address this promising approach to analyze the impact of collaborative Web 2.0 tools applied to PPGIS applications in urban planning actions. We develop a Web 2.0 PPGIS application through free, easy-to-use tools, which consist of a Web mapping service, with eligible geospatial data layers, where users explore and comment. A database stores the contributions in a format supported by GIS. We also set up a prototype version in Canela (Brazil), to test its usability. The results showed that it is a valuable approach for engaging the public. It could promote communication among users and decision makers in a more interactive and straightforward way. Besides, it is easy to set up and understandable by non-experts. The Web 2.0 PPGIS may serve as a social tool for any spatially-related issue involving community members in any context.