Qualitative GIS: A Mixed Methods Approach


Edited by: Meghan Cope & Sarah Elwood

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    Notes on Contributors

    Stuart Aitken is Professor of Geography at San Diego State University, where he is also the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Youth and Space; and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geography at the National Technical University of Norway. His research interests include film and media; children, families, and youth; critical visual approaches in GIS; and qualitative and poststructural methods in geography. Stuart has published widely in academic journals in urban and social geography and GIS, and is the author or editor of multiple scholarly texts contributing to social geography and research methodologies in geography. He is currently the North American editor of Children's Geographies.

    Meghan Cope is an Associate Professor in the Geography Department at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, USA. Her research interests are in the local experiences and constructions of place among marginalized social groups of North American and European cities. Most recently, Meghan has been working on research with young people through the Children's Urban Geographies project. She has also published widely on qualitative research methods and combines this with an interest in critical GIS to engage in new conceptual and practical developments, particularly through work with students.

    Jon Corbett is an Assistant Professor in the Community, Culture and Global Studies Unit at UBC Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. Jon's community-based research investigates cartographic processes and tools that are used by communities to help express their relationship to, and knowledge of, their territories and resources. Jon has worked with indigenous communities in Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and since 2004 with several First Nations communities in British Columbia. Recently Jon has been working with the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development in Albania, Kenya, Mali, and Sudan.

    Jim Craine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at California State University-Northridge, California, USA. Recent research includes work on affective geovisualization and emotional cartographies. He is also a co-editor of Aether: The Journal of Media Geography.

    Sarah Elwood is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington, USA. Her research interests intersect critical GIS, urban political geography, qualitative methods, and participatory action research. In teaching, her contributions include developing curricula for incorporating participatory and community-engaged research into undergraduate GIS education. Most recently, Sarah has been working on a collaborative research, teaching, and community outreach project that focuses on the use and impacts of geographic information systems and GIS-based spatial knowledge in neighborhood revitalization and in urban planning and problem solving.

    Jin-Kyu Jung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of North Dakota, USA. His main academic interests are in GIS and qualitative research, community studies, critical urban geography and planning, and mixed methods research. He has been conducting research on how to more fully integrate qualitative and quantitative approaches in mixed methods research with GIS, most recently through two case studies involving children's and adults' perceptions of their neighborhoods in Buffalo, NY. Exploring further applications of qualitative GIS as an analytical framework to study diverse urban issues is his long-term research goal.

    LaDona Knigge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at California State University-Chico, California, USA. Her interests include community gardens, public space, qualitative GIS, and local food systems, with particular emphasis on fostering and promoting civic agriculture and relocalizing food systems in ways that build both community and economic and ecological sustainability.

    Marianna Pavlovskaya is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Hunter College and in CUNY Graduate Center, in New York, USA. Her research focuses on the constitution of class and gender in postsocialist Moscow and New York City, rethinking neoliberal transition in Russia, and critically rereading geospatial technologies. She uses GIS in qualitative and quantitative research projects and is interested in its effects as a particular and very powerful representational tool.

    Giacomo Rambaldi is senior programme coordinator at the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in The Netherlands. He has 26 years of professional experience in developing countries where he worked for a number of international organizations. Giacomo has been promoting good practice in the domain of community mapping via various channels including his websites http://www.iapad.org and http://www.ppgis.net. Areas of professional interest include visualizing indigenous spatial knowledge for improving communication, facilitating peer-to-peer dialog, and managing territorial conflicts; collaborative natural resource management; participatory spatial planning; networking; and web publishing.

    Nadine Schuurman is an Associate Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Her research is at the intersection of human geography and geographic information science. She has parallel research interests and expertise in theoretical issues in GIS as well as GIS health informatics. She has conducted research on population health, spatial epidemiology, hidden homelessness, groundwater data, data integration and standardization, ontologies, and metadata.

    Matthew W. Wilson is a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA. His interests include critical GIS, science studies, and subject formation, and he is conducting research examining the cultural and political work of community mapping projects completed by a Seattle-based non-profit. He is interested in how geographic information technologies enable these kinds of neighborhood assessment endeavors, and how these geocoding activities mobilize particular notions of ‘quality of life’ and ‘sustainability’.

    List of Figures and Tables

    • Figure 2.1 NW Philadelphia and center city: superimposed maps by three lesbians 27
    • Figure 2.2 Multiple economies and households, 1989 and 1995, downtown Moscow 28
    • Figure 2.3 Household support networks, 1995, downtown Moscow 29
    • Figure 3.1 Two metadata forms. The left-hand side illustrates an ArcGIS metadata form, while the right-hand form is from IDRISI Andes. Note that metadata are collected exclusively for spatial attributes 45
    • Figure 4.1 NNNN's redevelopment area map 62
    • Figure 4.2 NNNN's census map 63
    • Figure 4.3 The Development Council's community services map 64
    • Figure 5.1 Ogiek elders are video-recorded while sharing their memories related to locations visualized on the three-dimensional map of their ancestral lands, Nessuit, Kenya, 2006 76
    • Figure 5.2 Ogiek peoples using aerial images to locate their traditional lands, Nessuit, Kenya, 2005 78
    • Figure 5.3 Fijian elders sharing knowledge with a student while marking resource areas on a 1:10,000 scale relief map of Ovalau Island, Levuka, Fiji Islands, April 2005 82
    • Figure 5.4 Ogiek peoples visualizing their traditional lands using a physical 1:10,000 scale three-dimensional cardboard model, Nessuit, Kenya, 2006 85
    • Figure 6.1 Visualizing patterns of vacancy in Buffalo, New York 106
    • Figure 7.1 The imagined grid 121
    • Figure 7.2 Using the imagined grid to visualize qualitative images: neighborhood images displayed with satellite imagery 122
    • Figure 7.3 Using the imagined grid to visualize qualitative images: neighborhood images with thematic map of demographic data 123
    • Figure 7.4 Hybrid relational database 124
    • Figure 7.5 Information search result in CAQ-GIS 124
    • Figure 7.6 CAQ-GIS design 128
    • Figure 7.7 ATLAS.ti search results for code ‘community’ 129
    • Figure 7.8 Search results for codes ‘community’ and ‘ethnicity’ in CAQDAS 130
    • Figure 7.9 Search result for codes ‘community’ and ‘ethnicity’ in GIS 131
    • Figure 8.1 The spectacle of San Diego's 1917 mayoral campaign literature. The significance of the ways these representations come together to suggest spectacle is an important (e)motivator of public reaction 146
    • Figure 8.2 Madelaine de Scudéry's Carte du pays de Tendre, engraved by François Chauveau, 1654 148
    • Figure 8.3 Everyday embodiments in Buffalo's Lower West Side 151
    • Figure 8.4 Lesbian perceptions of queer space in Philadelphia 152
    • Table 3.1 Eight fields used to capture ontology-based metadata. The fields were chosen to encapsulate key elements that describe instrumental, storage model, institutional culture, and policy context 48
    • Table 3.2 Ontology-based metadata for hypertension in pregnancy for the British Columbia Perinatal Database Registry (BCPDR) 51
    • Table 9.1 Insider–outsider discourse in early critical GIS 160


    From its earliest imagined existence to the finished manuscript, this book has emerged amidst two job changes, two promotion and tenure processes, five household moves, periods of intensive elder, partner, and child care, and countless telephone conversations. So naturally, there are many people to thank. First, we thank the authors for their outstanding contributions, their creative engagements with the notion of qualitative GIS, and their hard work in bringing the final manuscript together. As well, we are grateful to the 19 anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful feedback on the initial chapter submissions. Robert Rojek at SAGE offered us persistent encouragement to propose this text and unflagging support and advice through the process of bringing it to fruition. Sarah-Jayne Boyd, also at SAGE, has been a tremendous source of help in navigating the details toward publication. Milissa Orzolek at the University of Washington took on the Herculean task of copyediting and formatting the final manuscripts, under tremendous time pressure. We are grateful to all of them.

    We both wish to acknowledge the invaluable role that the US National Science Foundation's CAREER award program played in positioning us for this project. These awards support junior faculty to undertake a five-year program of interlinked research and education activities, a structure that encourages emerging scholars to think creatively about productive substantive, methodological, and pedagogical collisions and provides the sustained support needed to realize these innovations. For these reasons, while Qualitative GIS was not conceived as part of our respective CAREER projects, it is still a direct result of the ideas, imaginations, and activities inspired by them. We especially thank Tom Baerwald for his support throughout the various challenges and opportunities of our respective CAREER projects (Cope, BCS-9984876, 2001–2006; Elwood, BCS-0652141, 2003–2008).

    Finally, we thank treasured friends, colleagues, and family whose ideas, commitments, patience, and care have helped us bring this book into being: Alan Cote, Lisa Faustino, Geneva and Celia Coté, Jim and Susan Cope, Dale Ferguson and Eric Hudson, Marj and Norm Elwood, Helga Leitner, Deb Martin, Vicky Lawson, Rachel Pain, Sara Kindon, Jennifer Pierce, Nadine Schuurman, Eric Sheppard, Chris Brehme, Glen Elder, David Mark, Jin-Kyu Jung, LaDona Knigge, Maureen Sioh, and Lynn Staeheli.


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