DEVELOPING A WEB-BASED PPGIS, AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING SERVICE
Today municipalities are searching for new tools to empower locals for changing the future of their own areas by increasing their participation in different levels of urban planning. These tools should involve the community in planning process using participatory approaches instead of long traditional top-down planning models and help municipalities to obtain proper insight about major problems of urban neighborhoods from the residents’ point of view. In this matter, public participation GIS (PPGIS) which enables citizens to record and following up their feeling and spatial knowledge regarding problems of the city in the form of maps have been introduced. In this research, a tool entitled CAER (Collecting & Analyzing of Environmental Reports) is developed. In the first step, a software framework based on Web-GIS tool, called EPGIS (Environmental Participatory GIS) has been designed to support public participation in reporting urban environmental problems and to facilitate data flow between citizens and municipality. A web-based cartography tool was employed for geo-visualization and dissemination of map-based reports. In the second step of CAER, a subsystem is developed based on SOLAP (Spatial On-Line Analytical Processing), as a data mining tools to elicit the local knowledge facilitating bottom-up urban planning practices and to help urban managers to find hidden relations among the recorded reports. This system is implemented in a case study area in Boston, Massachusetts and its usability was evaluated. The CAER should be considered as bottom-up planning tools to collect people’s problems and views about their neighborhood and transmits them to the city officials. It also helps urban planners to find solutions for better management from citizen’s viewpoint and gives them this chance to develop good plans to the neighborhoods that should be satisfied the citizens.