Participatory GIS tool (PGIS)


The PGIS tool is an interactive website that the public can use to record their perceptions about the natural environment of the Morecambe Bay area. It captures simple information about the user and seeks to identify the locations where people experience cultural ecosystem services, and ascertain why they are important or valuable.


Personal user information, user-added pins, descriptions of places they value and photographs or evidence.

None - Information provided to tool developers
Local scale
Landscape scale
Regional scale
Cost of the tool (and guidance): 
Open access (free)
A range of land uses
Resource requirement (software): 
A device (e.g. PC, laptop, tablet) with an internet connection.
Level of technical expertise required: 
Internet use skills
Types of ecosystem service included: 
Habitat type (UK NEA habitats): 
Semi-natural grasslands
Enclosed farmland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Coastal margins
How does it work?: 

PGIS aims to improve understanding of how the public perceive and value different landscapes and ecology. The tool considers five cultural ecosystem services: outdoor recreation; local history, heritage and learning; solitude, calm and tranquillity; beauty and inspiration; and wildlife and nature. On the website, users place digital pins onto Ordnance Survey and satellite maps to show locations where they experience cultural services. They can record notes and upload photos to give an indication about the activities they undertake there and why they find that place special. This dataset can then be layered with other map data in a GIS (e.g. landcover, site designations, rights of way) to identify correlations and areas that provide multiple ecosystem services. Ultimately the information can be used as part of the evidence base in planning and development scenarios.  The website currently only functions for the Morecambe Bay area, but it is an example of how participatory GIS can be applied by other local authorities to help incorporate people's cultural values into local decision-making.

Where can I get it?:


For references e.g. [01] see the reference list