Free and Open Source Software for Geomatics Conference FOSS4G 2010 Barcelona

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Modern governance practices require the promotion of citizens public participation (PP). The EU INSPIRE directive, for example, highlights the importance of the geographic information to support a properly informed public participation. Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) is an approach to getting the public more involved in the decision making process. An act of efficient and effective public participation helps politicians to make more and better supported decisions. In a process like this, every citizen is invited to take part of the process, which means being an active part on the implementation of policies and measures that affect the space where they live. 

In this work, we justify and describe a completely open source based Web-GIS platform to support a wider PP work flow, which we call Civic Participation.

The interface is centered on the map. The authorities should publish all the necessary layers and should run the back office. Citizens can send their participation, using just a text box, pre-defined categories (lighting, road maintenance, water, etc), based on a Manchester like color wheel, any geometries drawn on top of the map, and by attaching photos. Each participation goes thorough its predefined life cycle, customized by the authority, that should provide feedback until it is considered closed. Participation and feedback using mobile phones and SMS/MMS messages are also supported.

The application which aims to simplify the civic participation process in a simple, effective and transparent way, reinforcing the collaboration between citizens and authorities, and proving that open source software is the right solution in the GIS and Society field. It is the right solution because the relations between the citizens and local authorities are influenced by the political decisions and are always evolving. It will be different in each local in the world.



António José Silva - Unversidade de Aveiro
Jorge Gustavo Rocha - Unversidade do Minho