GIS and environmental governance
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a commonly used tool for environmental management, modelling and planning. As simply defined by Michael Goodchild, GIS is as ‘a computer system for handling geographic information in a digital form’. In recent years it has played an integral role in participatory, collaborative and open data philosophies. Social and technological evolutions have elevated ‘digital’ and ‘environmental’ agendas to the forefront of public policy, the global media and the private sector. Government departments routinely use digital spatial platforms to plan and model proposed changes to road networks, building design, greenbelt land, utility provision, crime prevention, energy production, waste management and security. Non-profit organizations also incorporate geospatial and web-mapping approaches into political campaigns to lobby governments, to protest against socially or environmentally harmful companies, and to generate public support. Private business, whether in land management, resource extraction, retail, manufacturing or social media for example, also incorporate GIS into overall profit-making strategies.