Description of impactAlthough many countries, including Finland, have been legislated to realize participatory planning, challenges remain. Planners lack the knowledge of usable tools to reach broader groups of participants, which can turn participation into a small-geroup, elitist activity. Also, the produced data seldom translates into influential knowledge. As a result, participatory planning can be frustrating both for the participants and for those arranging such processes.
The softGIS methodology developed at Aalto University addresses these challenges by allowing residents to produce online, localized, experiential knowledge that can be analyzed with the register-based data included in GIS (Geographic Information System). Thed softGIS methodology is a public participation GIS (PPGIS) method that combines internet maps with traditional questionnaires.
The softGIS innovation has been commercialized by Mapita Ltd. as a Maptionnaire service. Maptionnaire allows anyone to create, publish and analyze map-based questionnaires with an editor tool. The Maptionnaire methodology has been used in over 2000 projects in more than 80 countries, both in research projects and in participatory planning practice-oriented projects.
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