Spatial annotation technology for public deliberation

Guoray Cai, Bo Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Many public policies and decisions deal with geospatially expressed problems that are complex and controversial in nature. Broad participation of all interested parties in the form of deliberative dialogues is crucial to making trustworthy decisions. However, supporting deliberative dialogues on spatial problems places unique requirements for technology mediation that go beyond the current state of research on public participation geographical information systems (PPGIS) and related technologies. In this article, we analyze the challenges of facilitating effective deliberation processes and highlight the progress needed to support spatially-enabled public deliberation technologies. Then, we present our GeoDeliberative Annotation Technology (GeoDAT) as a framework for addressing the above challenges. GeoDAT uses spatial annotation objects as models for deliberative artifacts, and manages annotations by a spatial data model that reflects the ecological relationships among annotations, visual contexts, discussion threads, spatial referents, and the cognitive states of their holders. As a proof of the concept, we have implemented GeoDeliberator based on the GeoDAT framework. GeoDeliberator is based on Web 2.0 technology and implemented in AJAX technology, and it offers some unique spatial annotation capture, retrieval and visualization capabilities, such as context memory, reference to multiple geo-objects in one annotation, inferring and visualizing new relations using spatial-temporal and thread-based reasoning, and user-controlled annotation sharing. We demonstrate the utility of GeoDeliberator through a simulated scenario where a community in a university campus deliberates on the alternative courses of actions available for building a smoke-free campus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-146
Number of pages24
JournalTransactions in GIS
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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