A methodological framework for analysis of participatory mapping data in research, planning, and management

Nora Fagerholm*, Christopher M. Raymond, Anton Stahl Olafsson, Gregory Brown, Tiina Rinne, Kamyar Hasanzadeh, Anna Broberg, Marketta Kyttä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)
269 Downloads (Pure)


Today, various methods are applied to analyze the data collected through participatory mapping, including public participation GIS (PPGIS), participatory GIS (PGIS), and collecting volunteered geographic information (VGI). However, these methods lack an organized framework to describe and guide their systematic applications. Majority of the published articles on participatory mapping apply a specific subset of analyses that fails to situate the methods within a broader, more holistic context of research and practice. Based on the expert workshops and a literature review, we synthesized the existing analysis methods applied to the data collected through participatory mapping approaches. In this article, we present a framework of methods categorized into three phases: Explore, Explain, and Predict/Model. Identified analysis methods have been highlighted with empirical examples. The article particularly focuses on the increasing applications of online PPGIS and web-based mapping surveys for data collection. We aim to guide both novice and experienced practitioners in the field of participatory mapping. In addition to providing a holistic framework for understanding data analysis possibilities, we also discuss potential directions for future developments in analysis of participatory mapping data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1848-1875
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number9
Early online date14 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • Online participatory mapping
  • participatory GIS (PGIS)
  • Public participation GIS (PPGIS)


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