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Rend. Online Soc. Geol. It., Vol. 30 (2014) - (DOI 10.3301/ROL.2014.03)

Web-based Participatory GIS with data collection on the field: a prototype architecture in two and three dimensions

Maria Antonia Brovelli (a), Marco Minghini (a) & Giorgio Zamboni (a)

(a) Politecnico di Milano, DICA, Laboratorio di Geomatica, Como Campus, via Valleggio, 11, 22100, Como, Italy.  E-mail:


Web 2.0 and the non-stop diffusion of mobile devices have recently opened unprecedented opportunities in terms of sharing contents online. The embodiment of Web 2.0 in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), named GeoWeb 2.0, has pushed the concept of Participatory GIS (PGIS) towards a new era. This study investigates the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to create an architecture enabling users to collect georeferenced data on the field using common mobile devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets) and to share them on the Web. Regardless of the field of application, the results should promote user participation as well as enlarge the knowledge up to the local level. User own contents, acquired and georeferenced by the device sensors (e.g. the camera and the GPS receiver), are published on the Web and can be accessed by both 2D and 3D viewers, the latter exploiting the powerful virtual globe technology. Multiple customizations of the same architecture, dealing with various fields of application and providing peculiar functionalities, are described. The developed system provides support for using FOSS within the collection and Web sharing of user-registered contents, which, being cost-free and continuously updatable, represent an important (and sometimes essential) source of information.


KEY WORDS: FOSS, GeoWeb, mobile, PGIS, three-dimensional, virtual globe.

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