Participatory Mapping: A Systematic Review and Open Science Framework for Future Research

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Participatory mapping emerged from a need for more inclusive methods of collecting spatial data with the intention of democratizing the decision-making process. It encompasses a range of methods including mental mapping, sketch mapping, and participatory geographic information systems. There has been a rapid increase in uptake of participatory mapping, but the multidisciplinary nature of the field has resulted in a lack of consistency in the conducting and reporting of research, limiting further development. In this article, we argue that an open science approach is required to enable the field to advance, increasing transparency and replicability in how participatory mapping research is both conducted and reported. This argument is supported by the first large-scale systematic review of the field, which identifies specific areas within participatory mapping that would benefit from an open science approach. Four questions are used to explore the sample: (1) How are different participatory mapping methods being used and reported? (2) What information is given on the data collected through participatory mapping? (3) How are participant demographics being recorded? (4) Who is conducting the research, and where is it being published? From a total of 578 academic research articles, we analyzed a stratified sample of 117. The review reveals a significant lack of reporting on key details in the data collection process, restricting the transparency, replicability, and transferability of participatory mapping research and demonstrating the urgent need for an open science approach. Recommendations are then drawn from the results to guide the design of future participatory mapping research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2324-2343
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2022


  • PGIS
  • PRISMA protocol
  • mental mapping
  • sketch mapping


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