Creating context sensitive understanding of the human-environment interactions with SoftGIS

The localisation of human experiences plays central role in applying social scientific knowledge to urban planning practice and research. However, there is both theoretical and methodological challenges in capturing efficiently human experiences and knowledge about space and place, particularly in large scale. Public participation GIS (PPGIS) has offered novel possibilities for collecting and analyzing place-based experiential knowledge and engaging the non-experts to spatially bounded decision making.

The internet-based SoftGIS methodology is an advanced example of a PPGIS method that has been developed in Aalto University, Finland since 2005. SoftGIS relies on collecting, analyzing and delivering ‘soft’, geocoded knowledge produced by the non-experts. The idea of SoftGIS is adding so called ’soft’ layers into the Geographic Information System with a help of an online place-based questionnaire. The experimental information then comprises a special layer as a part of diverse GIS data, with which researchers, urban planners and many other professionals work with all the time.

The seminar will also contain a short hands-on session to try out the Maptionnaire® tool, an advanced example of SoftGIS method.


Tiina Laatikainen, MSc, Doctoral Student at Aalto University, Finland is studying the health promoting aspects of the built environment and the human-environment interactions, primarily using SoftGIS methods. Her current research covers topics related to health-promoting aspects of everyday environments, ageing, and particularly to the endless possibilities of participatory mapping methods


RMIT University Storey Hall, 336–348 Swanston Street, Building 16, Level 7, Rooms 1 and 2, Melbourne, VIC 3000


11 July 2018