There have been numerous calls for the development and implementation of more inclusive methods for engaging the public in planning and decision-making processes, particularly regarding issues relating to rural landscapes. Such calls argue for the widening and diversification of participation in environmental management in order to enhance the co-production of knowledge and policy, highlighting the need for understanding the social dimensions of everyday engagements with the rural environment.
Decision-making processes for rural landscape management are often reliant on the use of quantitative data which is analysed and visualised within a Geographic Information System (GIS), however this approach is limited in its ability to capture and represent the complexities of human-environment relations. A methodological gap therefore exists in analysing and spatially representing this qualitative information alongside more traditional quantitative data in environmental decision-making processes. This project therefore positions itself in a new area of research: Qualitative/Mixed-Methods GIS or ‘QualGIS’, which is concerned with developing ways of integrating such qualitative data more effectively within a geospatial decision-making framework.