FOSS4G, Public Participatory GIS (PPGIS), and Protected Areas Management in Tobago
Public engagement is one of the core values to ensure the effective management of protected areas. An application was developed for the dual-purpose of information provision to, and data acquisition from users of two protected areas on the island of Tobago, the Buccoo Reef Marine Park and the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. Disseminating information to users, or even more challengingly gathering visitor motivations, experiences, and visitor activities and other user information at these locations can be a difficult, resource taxing exercise. This project explores using FOSS tools to overcome some of these challenges.
A web application was designed and built using components including OpenLayers 3, GeoServer, PostgreSQL, and OpenStreetMap. The application includes desktop and mobile versions and incorporates the use of Quick Response (QR) codes as a gateway to the application at the protected area locations. When accessed on location, the user is invited to participate in a short survey to gather basic demographic and visitor activity data.
Apart from demonstrating another potential approach to Public Participatory GIS (PPGIS) on the island of Tobago, it is envisioned that integrating the data provision and collection process will result in gains for both the protected area user and natural resource manager.