Multimedia Systems

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 3–21 | Cite as

WebMapMedia: a map-based Web application for facilitating participation in spatial planning

Regular Paper


In this paper, a new map-based Web application developed for facilitating citizen participation in spatial planning is studied. Two planning experiments testing the map-based application called WebMapMedia are featured. The literature review of the paper describes attempts to utilize geographic information systems (GIS) in participation, pointing out severe weaknesses of these systems in acquiring and processing qualitative local knowledge. The results of the experiments show that the Web-based technology supports regular but short-term “lunch break participation” that occurs in the week during the office hours. The other results reveal a symbiotic relationship between conventional and Web-based means of participation and the potential of the Web-based technology to broaden participation. It is also found that if the technology can be adapted to the stages of the planning process, it may facilitate knowledge creation in the process. The Google Maps mashup based on Web 2.0 approach exhibits certain advantages over GIS-based solutions. Based on the results, it is argued that a prerequisite for the full utilization of the Web-based technology in participation is the evolution of the planning process and the attitudes of the planners.


Map-based Web technology Web 2.0 e-Democracy Web-based participation Participatory planning Spatial planning Geographic information systems Google Maps mashup 



The work has been supported by the Academy of Finland and EU IST Presence 2 project IPCity.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information Processing ScienceUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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