GeoThink: How the Geospatial Web 2.0 is Reshaping Government-Citizen Interactions

*Information extracted from the project’s website.


We live in a hyperlocal world, made possible by geospatial technologies like Google Maps and GPS-enabled cellphones. People tweet about potholes; their mobile apps deliver directions to the nearest coffee shop, whose reviews were contributed by individuals. Governments add to the geographic data stream by opening up their data, like real time transportation information. These new forms of map making, called the Geospatial Web 2.0, are important for Canada, known as a world leader in map making and geographic technologies but whose leadership has since waned.

The emergence of these tools and services provides new capabilities for both non-experts and governments to contribute crowd-sourced geographic information to a host of social, economic and environmental challenges. The widespread accessibility of these capabilities is significant because it blurs distinctions between user and producer of geographic information and allows citizens to volunteer geographic information with their locations and experiences.

This 5-year project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant Program and contributions from grant partners.

(c) GeoThink


The primary goal of Geothink is captured in five broad objectives as follows:

  • Identify best practices development and usage of Geoweb in government
  • Explicate paths for local governments to leverage the Geoweb to communicate directly with concerned parties.
  • Investigate the social, economic and legal forces shaping means of governance.
  • Establish a sustainable partner network of regular communication in which ideas are bottom up and dynamically refined.
  • Train the next generation of leaders who will be highly technically competent and cognizant of impacts of Geoweb technologies on governance processes and citizen relationships.

Research Themes

  • Theme 1: Anywhere, Anyone, Anytime
  • Theme 2: Spatial Authenticity, Accuracy, and Standards
  • Theme 3: Laws, Norms, Rights and Code
  • Theme 4: Open Everything
  • Theme 5: Space, Place, and Social Justice
  • Theme 6: Geoweb Political Economy

Researchers from the Convergence Network involved in this project

For more information