Provisions for citizen involvement in the assessment of potential environmental effects of certain plans, programmes and projects are present in current legislation. An international survey revealed that public participation is common practice in European and some other countries worldwide. However, a number of issues are observed to affect public involvement in EIA/SEA processes and expert opinion differs when evaluating the effectiveness of existing participative methods.
Results suggest that technology-aided methods can improve traditional participation processes. In particular, GIS has the potential to increase community knowledge and enhance involvement by communicating information more effectively. Variable accessibility to technology and data quality remain issues. Combining technology with more conventional ways of gathering, evaluating and presenting data are seen as offering a solution to the need to promote the integration of public perceptions in environmental assessment procedures. Recommendations to improve current public participation methods and measures for making GIS available to the general public are provided. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.