MAP3 – Sun Centre of Excellence for Map-based Online Public Participation

Concepts and technologies for improved public participation in public participation processes and decision finding

People are particularly interested in any decisions related to their local area and environments for living and working. This is because these decisions affect them directly and can improve or reduce their quality of life considerably. Self-interest is one oft the main underlying motivations for public participation in spatial planning and decision-making. Geographic Information Systems together with web-based technology can enable better visualisation , interactivity, and information accessibility and therefore improve communication between citizens and decision makers.

Main goal of the Sun Centre of Excellence is to perform research in map based online public participation and to design and implement concepts and technologies that will empower the citizen, with a practical focus on the region of Salzburg. The main idea is to enable citizens to better assess discrete alternatives by providing easy-to-use web-based applications that make use of the geographic metaphor. With a simple mouse-click citizens can access the planned activities in an understandable way, choose from predefined alternatives locations, express their preferences, vote, and enter their comments or suggestions for changes and improvements. Potential application cases are: the city tunnel Salzburg, the revision of the local community master plan, locations of stops for public transport, etc.

Information Accessibility: Access to geographic information and activities panned in the local environment will be enabled through the Internet.
Spatial Visualisation: Citizens need realistic and understandable representation of the relevant topic of their local interest. Research will deal with methods and technologies of dynamic and adaptive visualisation of geographic information.
Interactivity: Design of a user interface which will enable the citizen to access information, explore and assess planned alternatives, express his/her own opinion, and vote for his/her favourite alternative.

The Sun Centre of Excellence MAP3 is a joint project co-operation between Salzburg Research, the University of Salzburg, and Sun Microsystems.