Abstract

While access to information-communication technology (ICT) infrastructure such as smartphones and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) web applications has steadily increased in many middle- and upper-income regions of the world, the use and impacts of these resources often remain limited by lack of exposure and training. I draw on ethnographic fieldwork conducted under disaster recovery conditions in Dominica to describe how the process of spatial data collection can be leveraged to help bridge this specific type of digital divide. Incorporating participatory elements into a research design can enable the transfer of valuable GIS skills and knowledge to local practitioners. These new capabilities can then be mobilized to address community problems. Results indicate that this approach has the potential to amplify the power of GIS data by making it more accessible, useable, and impactful to local communities who participate in research.

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