International Planning Studies, 17(3) pp 323-325

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

Recent developments in mapping and distributing geographical data using accessible Web 2.0 technologies and practices (such as Google EarthTM, WikiMapia and OpenStreetMap) as well as developments in user-generated online content through web-based and mobile technologies have raised the public profile of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in societal applications. There are numerous high-profile world-wide examples of GIS being used to disseminate information and analyse data in areas such as planning, transport and the delivery of local government services. This in turn has led some to suggest that there has been a democratization of GIS though there remains a noticeable lack of systems designed to permit input from the public in actual decision-making processes. Whilst the advantages of the wider availability of such tools and incorporation of local knowledge have been recognized, others have highlighted potential drawbacks of widening the availability of such tools to the general public; for example, in relation to the effects of data quality and the potential misuse of data in certain scenarios. In addition a whole host of institutional factors have been recognized as being influential in the effective use of such tools in truly participatory frameworks. Now would appear therefore to be an opportune time to review the history of GIS in societal applications, to examine how societal structures have influenced the nature of research in this area and to make preliminary predictions regarding the future use of GIS in a range of application areas that could potentially benefit society given Web 2.0 developments.