Project Description

Welcome everyone, to Geothink – shorthand for the recently awarded SSHRC partnership grant ‘How the Geospatial Web 2.0 is Reshaping Government-Citizen Interactions’.


Geothink Defined

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.

Support for Geothink

Ours is a 5-year partnership research grant funded by SSHRC and is one of only 20 grants awarded this year. Geothink is composed of 26 researchers and 30 partners, called “Geothink”. Geothink examines the implications of increasing two-way exchanges of locational information between citizens and governments and the way in which technology shapes, and is shaped by, this exchange. We couple government initiatives for open government and open access to data with citizens’ volunteered geographic contributions, and to spur innovation in operations and government-to-citizen (G2C) interactions.