New Publication: Participatory Geoweb

Corbett, J. and Cochrane, L. (2017) Engaging with the Participatory Geoweb: Exploring the Dynamics of VGI. In Volunteered Geographic Information and the Future of Geospatial Data edited by C. Campelo, M. Bertolotto and P. Corcoran. IGI Global.

Abstract: Maps were historically used as tools of the elite to maintain and expand power and control. The development of participatory mapmaking and the geoweb have opened new avenues for broader citizen engagement and therefore challenge traditional power dynamics. This chapter analyzes three examples and presents experiential learning around participatory processes and VGI contributions. Specifically we explore who is contributing their information, what are their motivations and incentives, in what ways do users interact with available technologies, and how is this contributing to change? We conclude by discussing the roles of motivations, the type of contribution, organizational capacity and leadership, and objectives. In comparing and contrasting these case studies we examine the individual and organizational dynamics of engagement, and how this can better inform the discourse about VGI.

Full version of chapter available here.

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Funded MA: Decarbonization

Two MA funding opportunity at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Anthropocene and Decarbonization: Mapping the Controversies)

We invite applications for two MA positions on "Anthropocene and Decarbonization: Mapping the Controversies." Decarbonization (through the shift to 'green energies' and the enhancement of 'carbon sinks' in the form of forest conservation) are among the most important strategies being promoted by governments and international bodies to curb climate change. The latter is one of the paradigmatic phenomena of the so-called Anthropocene, a label marking the geological consequentiality of human activity on the planet. Both the notion of the Anthropocene and the strategies of decarbonization are embroiled in controversies with multiple dimensions. We seek applicants who would be interested in 'mapping' these controversies: that is, how different positions in the arguments form clusters (of spokespersons; institutions; groups); what is the relation between different clusters; how positions are translated into policies and concrete interventions, and so on. Under the supervision of a team of researchers that will provide training on the various aspects of the project, applicants will develop their own projects within this general umbrella (for instance they might be interested in how these controversies relate to Indigenous peoples in particular places; or how they are gendered in particular ways; or how science and politics are entangled differently in different places; or how funding flows across the field of controversies; to mention a few possibilities). We will give priority to applicants that have some background on so called material-semiotics versions of Science and Technology Studies (as represented by Actor-Network Theory, or authors such as Donna Haraway). We strongly encourage Indigenous students to apply. Funding is 17K per year (2 years). Students must pay tuition out of their stipend. International students will have the differential fee in their tuition covered by the project. Applicants might join the project through various departments and are thus encouraged to contact Dr. Mario Blaser before applying to the School of Graduate Studies in order to determine the best route to follow. Email: mblaser {at} Applications should include:

  1. A cover letter including: statement on your familiarity with material-semiotics version of STS (i.e., courses you took, or material you have read); some initial idea on what aspect of the controversies would you be interested in researching; disciplines through which you would prefer to join the project.
  2. A CV and a break down/unofficial transcript of grades in the last two years

Check the sites for general information on Memorial University ( and its graduate programs (

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Funded MAs: Corporate Mapping Project

Up to three Research Assistantships for Masters students are available to work under the supervision of Professor Fiona MacPhail and/or Professor Paul Bowles (Department of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia) as part of the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP).

UNBC, in partnership with the University of Victoria, Parkland Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, is conducting a multi-year research and engagement project called Mapping the power of the carbon-extractive corporate resource sector (short name: Corporate Mapping Project). Co-Directed by Professor William Carroll at the University of Victoria and Shannon Daub at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, this partnership brings academic researchers, civil society organizations, and Aboriginal participants together to study the power of the fossil fuel industry in Western Canada by investigating the ways corporate power is organized and exercised. For more information about the Corporate Mapping Project, please see

As part of the CMP, Professors MacPhail and Bowles invite expressions of interest from potential graduate students to work on the CMP. Research will include mapping hydrocarbon commodity chains, identifying contentious "flashpoints" along those chains, examining corporate social responsibility documents, and interviewing groups within northern British Columbia affected by hydrocarbon development. Each Research Assistantship is tenable for two years at UNBC and is valued at $20,000. Preference will be given to students with a social science background; students applying for any graduate program at UNBC are eligible for consideration.

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Postdoc: Web Mapping & Oral History

Based at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and the Geomedia Lab, at Concordia University, the Postdoctoral Fellow will contribute to the technological and methodological development of the Living Archives Toolkit of the Rwandan Diaspora, a public online platform that will enable researchers, educators and survivors themselves to access 87 recorded life story interviews. This program is supported by two interlocking SSHRC-funded projects and is developed in collaboration with Page-Rwanda, representing the friends and family of those lost in 1994. The platform will be built on two existing open source applications: Stories Matter, developed by High and colleagues to enable the access to audiovisual life stories and Atlascine, designed by Caquard and colleagues to enable the mapping of stories in general; Atlascine is built on Nunaliit. The postdoctoral Fellow will be in charge of exploring and implementing methodological and technological solutions to enable the interfacing between Atlascine and Stories Matter. This interfacing is envisioned as a way to respond to the wider need to develop new ways to access, share, listen, visualize, map and analyse the recorded stories of survivors of mass violence.

More details.

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