Strategic Choices in Developing a Geospatial Web 2.0 Application for Rural Economic Development
Pierre Beaudreau, McGill University Peter A Johnson, University of Waterloo Renee E Sieber, McGill University
The ways in which we use the Internet have changed in recent years. Compared to consuming online content passively, users are more frequently adding their own content, often with a place-based aspect to it. This volunteered geographic information can represent local perspective in a rich way, and can be quickly shared with others. This case study presents the development of an online mapping application built using newly available web development tools. This application was used as part of a rural economic development initiative in the region of Acton, Quebec. The mapping application, GéoActon, provided a way for local business owners to add information on their business to a map that was embedded in an economic development website. We describe three strategic choices made in the development of GéoActon that reflect the organizational constraints often found within rural areas: minimizing development costs, user verification of contributed information, and strengthening linkages with partners. We anticipate that these choices can provide insights into the future development of Geoweb applications in rural areas.
Keywords: Geoweb, volunteered geographic information, participation, information technology