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The rise of Web 2.0 and the current, unprecedented diffusion of mobile devices have laid new foundations for the development of PGIS (Participatory GIS). This study evaluates the possibility of exploiting FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) tools to build up a PGIS prototype providing Web publication of user field-collected data. Besides increasing public awareness and collaboration, user-generated content should also enlarge the knowledge of specific phenomena up to the local level. A prototype architecture was designed and tested in relation to a simple, planning-related case study, i.e., the report of road pavement damages. Open Data Kit suite was used to gather georeferenced multimedia data using mobile device sensors (e.g., the GPS) and to store them into a PostgreSQL database with PostGIS spatial extension. Data was then Web-published using GeoServer. Web access was finally enabled from both traditional desktop-computers and mobile platforms through ad hoc OpenLayers and Leaflet clientside solutions. The architecture provided support for FOSS applicability within the typical PGIS-related tasks, from field survey to data storage, management and dissemination on the Internet. This bottom-up communication paradigm, which exploits real-time, freely available user contributions, can become a potentially precious tool for making decision-processes more democratic, faster and ultimately better.
Brovelli, Maria; Minghini, Marco; and Zamboni, Giorgio
"Web–based Participatory GIS with data collection on the field – A prototype architecture,"
Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) Conference Proceedings: Vol. 13
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/foss4g/vol13/iss1/5