The Finnish innovation SoftGIS refers to a collection of Internet-based queries which allow the locality-based study of human experiences and everyday behaviour. SoftGIS enables the combination of ‘soft’ subjective data with ‘hard’ objective GIS data. Large datasets can be collected for the use of urban planners and other professionals interested in the development of more user-friendly physical settings.
According to the original idea in the beginning of 2000’s, when the experiences of local inhabitants can be assigned addresses or geo-coordinates, they can also be connected to the actual physical settings and thus to a particular planning or design solution. With this information available, researchers would be able to produce much more usable information for urban planners and other professionals with an interest in the development of more user-friendly environments. The ability to simultaneously analyse the ‘soft’ experiential GIS data and the ‘hard’ register-based GIS data also will provide tremendous new research possibilities; soft geocoded knowledge could comprise an additional layer within a GIS.
The first SoftGIS methods were published in 2005 and were based on open-source technology. After facing many developmental steps, the innovation was ripe to be commercialized. Currently the methodology is called Maptionnaire and Mapita company develops the methodology further.
Kyttä, M. & Kahila, M. (2011). Softgis methodology. GIM International 25(3).
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Brown, G. & Kyttä, M. (2018). Key issues and priorities in participatory mapping: Toward integration or increased specialization? Applied Geography 95, 1-8. doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2018.04.002