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Use of Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) for data collection has been significantly growing over the past few years in different areas of research and practice. With the growing amount of data, there is little doubt that a potentially wider community can benefit from open access to them. Additionally, open data add to the transparency of research and can be considered as an essential feature of science. However, data anonymization is a complex task and the unique characteristics of PPGIS add to this complexity. PPGIS data often include personal spatial and non-spatial information, which essentially require different approaches for anonymization. In this study, we first identify different privacy concerns and then develop a PPGIS data anonymization strategy to overcome them for an open PPGIS data. Specifically, this article introduces a context-sensitive spatial anonymization method to protect individual home locations while maintaining their spatial resolution for mapping purposes. Furthermore, this study empirically evaluates the effects of data anonymization on PPGIS data quality. The results indicate that a satisfactory level of anonymization can be reached using this approach. Moreover, the assessment results indicate that the environmental and home range measurements as well as their intercorrelations are not significantly biased by the anonymization. However, necessary analytical measures such as use of larger spatial units is recommendable when anonymized data is used. In this study, European data protection regulations were used as the legal guidelines. However, adaptation of methods employed in this study may be also relevant to other countries where comparable regulations exist. Although specifically targeted at PPGIS data, what is discussed in this paper can be applicable to other similar spatial datasets as well.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Computers, Environment and Urban Systems|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2020|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- Open data