Neogeography: Rethinking Participatory Mapping and Place-Based Learning in the Age of the Geoweb
The term neogeography describes a new approach within GIScience teaching and research whereby geospatial technologies are becoming web-based and increasingly accessible to a broad range of developers and users. Through engaging with the geoweb (geospatial web-based applications), users are creating maps and sharing spatial data that is relevant to their own lives and experiences. The development of geoweb tools has been especially important for students and faculty members who engage in the practice of participatory mapping. In this chapter we describe how, in a university taught neogeography course, undergraduate students created participatory geoweb applications to address local issues. One student constructed a geoweb-based platform for civic dialogue; a second team of students designed and deployed an application to address the logistical challenges faced by a local grassroots organization. We draw on the pedagogic theory of place-based education (PBE) and consider it as an effective approach to teaching and learning neogeography. We observed how a PBE approach empowered students to critically and effectively engage in civic matters, become more invested in ‘place’ and actively learn directly about social justice issues. The approach also supported an increased academic engagement while providing a valuable learning experience in terms of developing technical, critical thinking and other soft skills.
KeywordsNeogeography Geoweb Place-based education Participatory mapping
The authors would like to thank Andrew Barton, author of the Places and Pipelines project, as well as Travis Eek, Stevie Frew, Liz Waterfield and Alex Rutledge, the creators of the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project web map. We would also like to acknowledge Casey Hamilton and Ailsa Beischer from the Okanagan Fruit Tree Project for their input, ideas and support of the geoweb project. Finally we would like to thank Nick Blackwell, the head Geolive programmer, and Joanne Carey, the Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice administrator.
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