Qualitative GIS: combining theory and method Stephen Burgess and Scott Orford What is QGIS? • New and developing approach to spatial research (early 2000s →) • Response to critiques of GIS – Power relations; cost; supportive of value-free objectivity; Pickles’ Ground Truth – Different to PPGIS • Critical cartography as response to post-modern claims to knowledge (text discourse, institutionalisation of knowledge etc) • Post-colonialism: knowledge claims and territory claims - who maps to claim it and how; tensions (e.g. indigenous v coloniser land use). • North American focus for development but interest spreading elsewhere – Development of international methodological and empirical agenda? What is QGIS? • • QGIS is arguably a misnomer Is a mixed-method approach (care not to confuse techniques with the method) • Approach (not merely a collection of techniques) • Approach is Mixed method “integrating multiple forms of knowledge” (Elwood & Cope, 2009) – Repositioning of GIS away from a solely positivistic framework to employ multiple epistemologies – Integration of quantitative (spatial) v qualitative (platial) data • • • • • Cartesian v Non-Cartesian Mixed methods and epistemological boundaries Mapping the nonmeasurable and dynamic (processes, flows, time and history) Combining data – visualization is key In other words – – GIS / Mapping as a representational practice not just a technology (critical cartography) How represents, constitutes and communicates spatial knowledges Parallels with QGIS: learning from elsewhere (1) Critiquing cartography (2) Mapping qualitative data (3) Re-presenting space and place • Critiquing cartography – Surrealist map of the world – South-at-the top Surrealist map of the world, 1929 Parallels with QGIS: learning from elsewhere • Mapping qualitative data – – – – • CAQDAS links with Google Earth (Graham Hughes) The Island (Walter) Greenwich emotion map Salem Witch Trials Re-presenting space and place – Neo-geography and VGI – Twitter (virtual space) • Guardian Twitter World Cup – non cartographic representation of social networking • UCL Twitter Maps – cartographic representation of social networking QGIS: Examples from Wales • QGIS, WISERD, data integration and mixed-methods • Projects that might help understand different mobilities in urban and rural South Wales – Use of mental maps, conversation and Google Earth to understand mobilities in South Wales Valleys town (previous study) – GPS tracks to plot walkabout interviews (KLiC) – GPS tracks to plot urban patrols (KLiC) • These highlight different affordances given to different methods used in different contexts Walking tours – interview practice Cars and walking Urban Patrol data – spatial practice Moving forward Moving forward • Moving forward – Beware of technology for its own sake – Further theoretical development • WISERD data from KLiC Teams Urban Patrol data – spatial practice Qualitative GIS: exploring theory and method The past few years have witnessed a cross-disciplinary growth of interest in the integration of qualitative and quantitative spatial data, particularly within a GIS environment. These embryonic interests may often bear different names, but their objectives are, ultimately, similar. In our own work, we refer to this as Qualitative GIS (QGIS). We suggest that there is a need to clarify what is meant by QGIS in order to forward an international agenda of method and study. In this paper, we will outline current work being undertaken within Qualitative GIS. We will discuss theoretical and methodological issues and begin to address substantive questions including the what, whys and hows of QGIS. By addressing these, we will have a better idea of what QGIS might look like.