Tourism and Environmental Change in Barbados: Gathering Citizen Perspectives With Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)
New map-based online tools have the potential to facilitate citizen participation in discussing the impacts of tourism. This research investigates the use of Geospatial Web 2.0 (Geoweb) tools to gather volunteered geographic information (VGI) on tourism-related environmental change from citizens of Barbados. We hosted participatory mapping workshops where groups of Barbadians directly contributed content to a series of online maps. These maps were made with the free Google My Map tool, allowing users to interact with detailed satellite imagery of Barbados. Qualitative observations were added and geo-referenced to these maps identifying several types of environmental change concerns, both those generated by tourism, and those with implications for tourism development. We analysed how participants used Google My Maps, identifying concerns of accuracy, data completeness and digital/computer literacy amongst users that could affect further use of this tool. Overall, the Geoweb approach provided participants with a unique perspective on environmental change that facilitated deeper discussion of issues and produced a publicly available, spatially referenced record of citizen concerns. Further research needs are demonstrated, including user interface design, accuracy and uncertainty, and how to manage varying levels of digital literacy.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Ricker, Britta A.; Johnson, Peter A.; and Sieber, Renee E., "Tourism and Environmental Change in Barbados: Gathering Citizen Perspectives With Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)" (2013). Urban Studies Publications. 62.