General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Introduction To Participatory Geographic Information Systems: Concepts And Applications
Language English
Module lecturer Prof. Dr Piotr Jankowski
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Prof.Dr
Faculty Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences
Semester 2023/2024 (winter)
Duration 20


This is an online course.

The course will start on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, and end on Tuesday, December 12, 2023. There will be seven weekly meetings, 150 minutes each from 16:30 until 19:00 on the following dates: 31/10, 7/11, 14/11, 21/11, 28/11, 5/12, and 12/12.

Module aim (aims)

Explore theoretical frameworks, methods, and applications related to Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) in diverse contexts including community participation in urban planning, smart cities, transportation, and environmental sustainability.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

General interest in crowdsourcing of geographical information and its uses in diverse domains affecting human-environmental systems. The seminar does not require technical skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) although some familiarity with GIS is a plus.


Course Content


The idea of PPGIS centers on the designs, processes, and methods that facilitate collaboration of multiple individuals including experts, lay public, and decision makers. PPGIS integrate people, geographic information, exploratory tools and structured discussion and thus, synergize knowledge, expertise, and experience of multiple stakeholders. This course provides an opportunity to learn motivations, development strategies, and discuss multiple case studies of PPGIS in various application domains and contexts.

The content of the course is organized into four sections beginning with: 1) overview of PPGIS origins and basic concepts followed by 2) participatory approaches to crowdsourcing spatial information such as participatory mapping and volunteered geographic information, 3) PPGIS techniques and tools, and 4) methods of analyzing PPGIS data. Each section starts with an introductory lecture followed by readings provided by the course instructor and classroom discussions. Section 3 (techniques and tools) introduces geo-questionnaire – a method and an accompanying tool for collecting and organizing mixed geographical data. Students will have an opportunity to practice and use the tool to develop their own PPGIS application.

Learning Outcomes

Students will learn the concepts underpinning PPGIS, become familiar with methods of acquiring and using spatial information, develop skills in using mixed data participatory mapping tools, and learn to identify application areas fit for the PPGIS approach.

Course Deliverables

There are no exams in this course. Instead, students will have a choice of either writing and delivering at the end of the seminar a research paper dealing with a topic of their interest, contextualized by the course readings, or developing and presenting an application of geo-questionnaire.

Grading Policy

1. Class participation (30% of course grade). All students are responsible for reading the assigned papers. The more your read the better perspective you get. All students are responsible for submitting electronically to Prof. Piotr Jankowski (, at least one day before each class meeting, one discussion issue related to the weekly assigned readings. Students are also expected to actively participace in reading discussions.

2. Student paper exploring any aspect of Participatory GIS (PGIS), or an appllication of geo-questionnaire - a participatory technique and tool for PPGIS presented in the course (70% of course grade). Students are required to email Prof. Jankowski by the 5th week of the course their expression of interest in either writing a paper (up to 4000 words long) or developing a geo-questionnaire application. The paper should reflect student’s own perspective on one or multiple topics related to the content of the course. Papers synergizing the content of the course with students’ own research interest(s) are highly encouraged. 

Reading list

Babelon, I.; Pánek, J.; Falco, E.; Kleinhans, R.; Charlton, J. 2021. Between Consultation and Collaboration:
Self-Reported Objectives for 25 Web-Based Geoparticipation Projects
in Urban Planning. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf., 10, 783.

See, L., Mooney, P., Foody, G., at al. 2016. Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science or Volunteered Geographic Information? The Current State of Crowdsourced Geographic Information. International Journal of Geo-Information. 5:55; doi:10.3390/ijgi5050055

Innes, J. E., and Booher, D. E. 2004. Reframing Public Participation: Strategies for the 21st Century. Planning Theory & Practice 5(4):419-436.

Ghose, R. 2017. Public-participation GIS. in: The International Encyclopedia of Geography. Edited by Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M.F., Kobayashi, A., Weidong, L.,, and Marston, R.M. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg1155

Goodchild, M.F., and Glennon, A.J. 2010. Crowdsourcing Geographic Information for Disaster Response: A Research Frontier. International Journal of Digital Earth. 3:3, pp: 231-241.

Heikinheimo, V., at al. 2020. Understanding the use of urban green spaces from user-generated
geographic information, Landscape and Urban planning,

Jonietz, D., Antonio, V., See, L., Zipf, A. 2017. Highlighting Current Trends in Volunteered Geographic Information. International Journal of Geo-Information. 6:202; doi:10.3390/ijgi6070202

Kayhko, N., Khamis, Z.A., Eiolola, A., et al. 2019. The Role of Place-Based Local Knowledge in Supporting Integrated Coastal and Marine Planning in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Ocean and Coastal Management. 144: 64-75.

Antoniou, V., Capineri, C. and Haklay, M., 2018. VGI and Beyond: From Data to Mapping. in: A.J. Kent and P. Vujakovic (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 475 - 488

Shahabi, C., 2017. Spatial Crowdsourcing. in: The International Encyclopedia of Geography. Edited by Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M.F., Kobayashi, A., Weidong, L.,, and Marston, R.M. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0696

Falco, E., and Kleinhans, R. 2018. Digital Participatory Platforms for Co-Production in Urban Development: A Systematic Review. International Journal of E-Planning Research. 7:3, pp. 52-79

Kahila, M. and Kytta, M. 2009. SoftGIS as a Bridge-Builder in Collaborative Urban Planning. In: S. Geertman, J.C.H. Stillwell (eds.), Planning Support Systems Best Practice and New Methods, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. pp: 299 - 411. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-8951-0_19.