Training Kit on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication. CTA/IFAD

Module M01 - Introduction to the Training Kit

Unit M01U01 - Introduction to PGIS Practice


This handout introduces trainers and trainees to the basics of Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) practice.

In many countries, indigenous and other marginalised people are not well-engaged in effective policy dialogue on issues related to the territories they use, manage and occupy.

The adoption and sound use of community-based geographic information technologies, combined with effective networking and communication, (i.e. PGIS practice) has been proven to have positive impacts on community empowerment and cohesion, innovation and social change. Setting the foundations for safeguarding culturally sensitive information from external misuse and exploitation begins by giving its traditional custodians control over its access and use.

Producing, georeferencing and visualising indigenous spatial knowledge helps communities engage in peer-to-peer dialogue, promote their aspirations and concerns with higher-level authorities and address economic forces.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After the completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • summarise the historic perspective of PGIS practice;
  • state concisely the principles and practice of PGIS;
  • explain the relevance of communication as a key ingredient of the practice;
  • provide examples of contexts within which PGIS is practised;
  • explain the importance of indigenous spatial knowledge;
  • discuss the importance of “genuine participation”;
  • explain why PGIS is a “practice” and not a “tool”.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Introduction to fundamentals of PGIS: concepts and practices (PPT no.1) (30 min); (video) (15 min) followed by a Q&A session (15 min)

Keywords / key concepts

participatory geographic information system, spatial knowledge, mapping, participatory approaches, participatory mapping, participatory GIS (PGIS), participatory learning and action (PLA)

Components of the Unit

Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):

Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):




1 hour

Additional trainer resources

Equipment needed

Computer with DVD player, beamer and speakers connected to the computer

Additional downloads

Source: CTA. 2010. Training Kit on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication. CTA, The Netherlands and IFAD, Italy (ISBN: 978-92-9081-446-7)