Framing the use of geo-information in government: a tale of two perspectivesReportar como inadecuado

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Earth Science Informatics

, 2:271

First Online: 25 November 2009Received: 11 June 2009Accepted: 25 September 2009


While commercial virtual globes e.g. Google Earth and global scientific cyber-infrastructures e.g. Digital Earth are revolutionizing the way we use and produce geo-information, we still lack a rich conceptual understanding of how genuine human actors use geo-information and associated technologies in real work settings. In this paper, we conceptualize the use of geo-information as encompassing people’s actual use practices, the values to which people aspire through geo-information use, and the rules that either legally prescribe or just encourage optimal use. Values, practices and rules can be illuminated from two perspectives or lenses, the market and the polis, resulting in radically different insights on the use of geo-information as a social phenomenon. We argue that with a polis lens we stand a chance to explain how authentic human actors, groups and communities with different values, interests and motivations use geo-information, and how societal benefits materialize or not as a result. Seen from a polis lens, values are not easily measurable standards of goodness, dominant public management ideas can be the source of technical-organizational change in government while policies can be fruitfully examined as persuasive arguments to target audiences. With a polis lens, we are more likely to understand the emergence of new practices, value contests and global rules underpinning commercial virtual globes and scientific cyber-infrastructures.

KeywordsGeo-information Use Values Practices Rules Market perspective Polis perspective Communicated by: H.A. Babaie

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Autor: Yola Georgiadou - Gianluca Miscione - Kate Lance - Walter de Vries


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