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Tell Us About Your Project That Utilized GIS or Location-Based Services to Engage Citizens

Win a Free Registration to Where Conference 2012
image by Melissa Mongiat via
Good Participation Workshop

EngagingCities is raffling off one complimentary registration to the Where Conference 2012. All of our readers are eligible to enter the raffle drawing. All we ask is that you share a story of how you or somebody else successfully used geo-location technology to engage citizens and stakeholders.

What we want:
Have you been involved with a project that utilized GIS or location-based services to engage citizens? We want to hear details about which app was used, and how the public was engaged using maps and technology. The more creative, the better.  

Please share links to projects, research, news, a blog post - anything that documents your story.

What you get:
By adding your story as a comment to this post, you qualify for entry into this raffle valued at over $1900. Deadline is February 29. Raffle will take place and winner announced on February 29th. All you have to do is post a brief comment with an introduction to the project and links to more details and you will automatically be entered into the drawing.

About the Where Conference 2012 >>


On Wednesday this week, we held a drawing to see which of our participants won the free registration to Where2012 and the winner is...Tamara Manik-Perlman, project manager and leader of the spatial analysis team at Azavea, a certified B Corp specializing in web and mobile geographic software development. She spends her days thinking about how to make it as exciting as possible for citizens to explore data. Congratulations Tamara! We can't wait to learn about your experience at the conference, and even more about Public Mapping Project, Fix Philly Districts, and University of Pennsylvania Project for Civic Engagement.

Thanks again to all participants and to all our supporters who helped us spread the word about this fun quest for ideas. There will definitely be more to come from us on GIS and Location technology and services so stay tuned and continue to share your insights - they are always welcome!

I am an Egyptian GIS Software Programmer, the Programmer of Elshayal Smart GIS Map Editor and Surface Analysis - First Arabian GIS Software

our GIS software is
1. First Arabian GIS Software - Registered in 2005
2. Digitize and Analysis (Spatial, Attribute, Surface) GIS Data
3. Free for None Commercial Use
4. Independent of any Software Package, or Code Library
5. Built by Individuals and Not Supported by any Organization

Our free Smart GIS Softwre Example Functions
1 - Convert GIS Shape to AutoCAD DXF File and Vise versa
2 - Building Tin Surface Analysis
3 - Building Contour Surface Analysis
4 - Converting 2D to 3D Surface Analysis
5 - Calculating 2D and 3D Areas and Volumes
6 - Convert Vector and Raster Layer Coordinates System between UTM and Geographic Lon-Lat
7 - Save layout images with written Lon and Lat coordinates to help exporting them to Autocad
8 - Download and save Google Earth Images as rectified images with world file format .jgw
9 - Makes Google Earth as a Background of your GIS Geographic Lon-Lat Map
10- Convert and use all Transverse Mercator Projections & Transformations

Download Links
The Free Smart GIS Software Ver. 4.74 Free Download

The Free Smart GIS Software Course

The Free Smart GIS Software Tutorials Videos

Smart GIS Map Editor Facebook Photos Gallery

Smart GIS Map Editor approved by

Smart GIS Map Editor approved by

The Free Smart GIS Software yahoo Group

The best of GIS Users tools 2006

GIS Ideas Conference Organized by Japan-Vietnam Geoinformatics Consortium (JVGC) Institute for Environment and Resources (IER-HCMC)

United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (Netherlands Coordination Office) website Recommending our Free GIS Software
Menu -> Links -> Tools -> Elshayal Smart GIS Map Editor and Surface Analysis

The Free Smart GIS Software Paper

The Free Smart GIS Software Google Blog

The Town of Banff has implemented a unique combination of Microsoft Great Plains, ESRI's ArcMap, Google Fusion tables and Google Maps API.
In a nutshell, we have asked citizens if they wish to participate in a program we've called Pet Connect. This program allows anyone that finds a missing pet, wearing a current pet licence tag, to access the Town of Banff's web site where they can enter a lost pet's ID tag, and see on a map the approximate location of the pet's home, along with the pet's description, name, and most importantly, the owner's contact phone number.

The free program has been able to achieve >30% participation of registered pet owners within it's first 2 months of official launch! As well, we've already had some great feedback from citizens with one appreciative owner saying how happy she was to get a call about her missing dog - expecially when she didn't even know the dog was missing from her back yard!

The program helps citizens reunite with their pets faster, introduces citizens to one another, and saves the Bylaw department time and money by reducing the number of lost and found pet calls that they need to respond to.

You can see the app here at the bottom of the page -

First, I want to say that this post is a great idea, and it's exciting to hear about all the projects that people are working on!

I'm a geographer at Azavea, a software development company focusing on web- and mobile-based geography applications. In fact, I just found out that one of our company's projects, OpenTreeMap, has been profiled on this very site!

Being a political junkie in addition to a geo-nerd, I also wanted to share our work on DistrictBuilder, an open source redistricting application that we built in collaboration with the Public Mapping Project. DistrictBuilder enables members of the public to create their own redistricting plans. The application automatically calculates contiguity, compactness and population statistics so that users know how their plan stacks up against legal requirements. More details are at:
You can read one take on it over on O'Reilly Radar:

The platform has been used in contests around the country within cities, counties and states. All told, DistrictBuilder has been used by thousands of citizens who have been inspired to think in depth about the requirements of redistricting and have submitted hundreds of plans.

I was particularly excited about Fix Philly Districts, a contest that was held here in Philadelphia and that I believe helped facilitate dialog between the public, city council (responsible for redistricting) and the media. Azavea was joined by WHYY (our local public media station), the Philadelphia Daily News and the University of Pennsylvania Project for Civic Engagement. To launch the application there was a forum held at WHYY, and I had the chance to participate in lively debates with my fellow citizens and to see their enthusiasm about having tools that they could use to create plans to counter the ones being generated by politicians whose interests might be different than their own. While none of the citizen-generated plans were adopted, the contest changed the dialog, causing City Council to hold more public hearings and we ended up with districts that were a significant improvement over the current ones. The contest is over, but the web site is still up at

The other thing that is really exciting about both OpenTreeMap and DistrictBuilder is that they are both open source projects, meaning that anyone with sufficient technical expertise can use the code to create a version of the application for their own area.

I'm working with Metro Blooms to organize their green infrastructure projects while expressing them through GIS. Using ArcGIS online, I took the Powderhorn Neighborhood of Raingardens map and posted it on the Metro Blooms website. This map and the designs expressed will be a great asset to our website as we encourage residents to install raingardens by attending our public raingarden workshops. This map is also important because Metro Blooms is undergoing a stormwater quality experiment with the nearby Powderhorn Lake. The Neighborhood of Raingardens is being compared to another control area nearby that has no raingardens. As the experiment unfolds, the ready-to-access map will be a valuable reference point to organizations as well as the public.

The map can be found by scrolling to the "Powderhorn" segment of our projects page:

or directly to ArcGIS online: (may need to zoom in),44.9415,-93.2507,44.9491

At Sasaki, we are constantly looking for ways to broaden publiic outreach and innovate the process of gathering feedback. To this end, and utilizing the skills of some very technologically-savvy planners, we created an online, customizable GIS tool to gather feedback from constituents across various communities - academic, public and corporate.
Though used in a variety of ways, the most recent application was part of the Central Iowa Regional Sustainability Plan - called The Tomorrow Plan ( Here, the application enables visitors to the website to map their own individual paths across the region. After they have completed their own map, the application enables two 'rewards'. First, the user can see everyone else's networks - allowing them to understand their answers in the context of other users. Secondly, it allows users to apply filters to assess demographic trends in the data.
We are excited to share this ... Check it out:

GIS and comprehensive planning with save a rural county in Georgia $3.3 billion in public infrastructure over the next 40 years.

During the housing boom of the 2000s, Newton County, a rural/suburban county outside Atlanta, embarked on a comprehensive planning process. Without professional planners or expertise, a group of concerned residents formed The Center for Community Preservation and Planning, a local non-profit, as a neutral space to plan for the county's future. The Center invited the local elected and appointed officials to discuss the changes taking place around them.

With the help of student GIS interns and volunteers, this group ("the Leadership Collaborative") designed, adopted, and is implementing an aggressive growth management strategy. Communities identified the places they wanted to preserve and develop, and a combination of students and emeritus professors turned public feedback into a general plan for the county. This 2050 Plan designates five compact communities that will hold 88% of the future population, while the rest will be preserved for agriculture and conservation.

Jeffrey Dorfman, a land economist with the University of Georgia, studied the public savings generated by adherence to this 2050 Plan instead of allowing growth to continue spread evenly across the county. By restricting public infrastructure to these compact communities, the cities, county, schools, utilities, and other public agencies will save $3.3 billion. This strategy will also allow the compact communities to grow around attractive neighborhood schools, walkable streets, and mixed use development. These cost savings include 27% lower sewer capital costs, 43% lower bus transportation costs, and 39% less congestion on county roads, not to mention a 33% reduction in carbon emissions and 62% more tree cover.

For more information on the Center, the Leadership Collaborative, and Newton County, please refer to this article by MIT's Community Innovator's Lab.

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