From silent knowledge to spatial information – Mapping blue growth scenarios for maritime spatial planning.

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Abstract: 

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is an effective tool for conciliating human activities and environmental values, building on spatial data and geoinformation technologies. However, socio-economic information is distinctly underrepresented in the rapidly growing supply of spatial information. The spatial distribution of current and future activities and opinions has traditionally been the silent information of scientists, local actors and the public. Moreover, future projections and policies exist in qualitative, non-spatial formats, incompatible with quantitative biophysical spatial data layers. This article aims at promoting the generation and application of spatial socio-economic information for the purposes of MSP. We examine one workflow of converting the socio-economic knowledge of individual experts to spatial data, and further to refined spatial knowledge. We illustrate how participatory mapping, data interpretation and core geocomputing methods may be used to generate data, and discuss the main issues related to their generation and use. The results suggest that participatory mapping can provide valuable data for the MSP process, helping in filling the gap of missing socio-economic information. The process is highly subjective: the presentation of background information, the framing of the questions and the interpretation of the spatial data may have notable influence on the generated information. Furthermore, both the technology of the data collection and applied analysis methods have distinct effects on spatial information and its validity.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
2019
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Data
Social aspects
Stakeholders
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Yes
Coherence with other processes: 
Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Questions this practice may help answer:

How participatory mapping, data interpretation and core geocomputing methods may be used to generate socio-economic data?

Implementation Context:

The study is conducted by researchers from the University of Turku. 

Aspects / Objectives:

The article aims to examine the process of transferring the silent socio-economic knowledge into spatial data for the purposes of MSP. 

Method:

The study examines the workflow of converting the socio-economic knowledge of individual experts to spatial data, and further to refined spatial knowledge. It illustrates how participatory mapping, data interpretation and core geocomputing methods may be used to generate data, and discuss the main issues related to their generation and use. 

Main Outputs / Results:

The results of the study suggest that participatory mapping can provide valuable data for the MSP process, filling some gaps of missing socio-economic information. In the context of a complex and multilevel process, such as MSP, the benefits of face-to-face and moderator-lead mapping methods are highlighted, since they allow discussion and flexible (also non-spatial) documentation of the results. The mapping process is highly subjective: the presentation of background information, the framing of the questions and the interpretation of the raw data may have notable influence on the generated data. Furthermore, the selection of the data collection technology and applied analysis methods shape the generated spatial information and its validity.

Transferability:

Participatory mapping can provide valuable data for the MSP processes, helping in filling the gaps of missing socio-economic information.

Responsible Entity:

University of Turku, Finland.

Costs / Funding Source:

The work was supported by the Interreg Central Baltic programme and the University of Turku through co-funding the Plan4Blue project. 

Contact person:

Harri Tolvanen: harri.tolvanen@utu.fi 

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