PGIS and PPGIS practitioners facilitate the identification of human/landscape relationships – both actual and perceptual. There is a subjective nature to maps and mapmaking. Consider recent efforts in mapmaking and the “truth” these maps reveal…or obscure.

An open forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies  used a public participation GIS (PPGIS) process in New Zealand where residents and visitors identified the locations of different landscape values (e.g., aesthetic, recreation, economic, ecological, social, historical, and wilderness values) in two regions on the South Island. The landscape values mapped in the process are perceptual, but grounded in local knowledge and human experience . They analyzed the relationships between these perceived landscape values and physical landscape features–where human geography meets physical geography. From these empirical landscape value/feature relationships, they generated (extrapolated) social landscape value maps for the entire country of New Zealand.

View their social landscape value maps for New Zealand.  It’s not hard to imagine that these maps could be used to advocate protection…or exploitation…of the NZ landscape in particular locations.

Special thanks to Greg Brown from Green Mountain College for the information, links and maps for today’s blog post!