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Ethical E-Participation: Reasons for Introducing a ‘Qualitative Turn’ for PPGIS


The most recent forms of e-participation seem to provide new issues that need to be discussed. One such discussion involves the role of GIS. Can an ethically aware GIS be conceived? What does it mean for a GIS to be ethical at all? Throughout this paper, first the authors create a theoretical framework to encompass four key elements that lead us to the definition of ethical digital mapping: GIS ethics, social justice, power, and participation. Then they introduce the concept of PPGIS (Public Participation GIS), and argue that only a ‘qualitative turn' can enhance their importance in decision-making processes. Finally, the authors discuss an experiment that is currently taking place in Palermo, Italy, to debate the opportunities qualitative PPGIS may grant.