Integrating Community Knowledge with Citizen Science and Geographic Information Systems to Explore Climate Change Concerns in Hopkins, Belize

Authors: Katerina Brandt, Rutgers University, Julia Jeanty*, University of Florida, Brenner Burkholder*, Goshen College, Andrew Castillo, University of Belize, Monica Lemus Valencia, University of California Santa Barbara, Timothy Hawthorne, University of Central Florida, Christy C Visaggi, Georgia State University, Lain Graham, University of Central Florida, Christine Munisteri, University of Central Florida
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Hazards and Vulnerability, Environmental Perception
Keywords: Belize, flooding, GIS, participatory GIS, participatory mapping
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon A2, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Community-based applications of GIS often emphasize geographic approaches that are inclusive of and responsive to knowledge from local communities. Our research In Hopkins Village Belize emphasizes the development of open data collected by participatory mapping in order to examine flooding risks and to combat issues of data scarcity through community involvement. This small fishing village along the coast of Belize is plagued by flooding and natural disasters due to its location between a freshwater lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Tablets, drones, quantitative and qualitative methods are used in order to provide data to enhance the community’s ability to enact flooding and disaster mitigation through GIS using ArcGIS Online and Survey123. Community perceptions of flooding locations, disaster preparation methods, and climate change were incorporated using a mixed methods approach. After conducting 77 interviews, our results, in the form of maps and coded responses, serve to showcase the power of a citizen science GIS mapping partnership whereby local knowledge is critical to the process as community members engage collaboratively by contributing to research design, data interpretation, and problem-solving for future efforts on coastal issues that impact the residents of Hopkins. Our work has implications not only for Hopkins Village Belize, but also for others areas in the developing world where researchers are interested in engaging in community-based mapping research experiences.

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