Your questions ...
... answers from P3DM
Can P3-DM be used for reproducing
large areas (e.g. >100,000 km2)?
Key-informants' knowledge can be successfully
collated on relief models made at 1:20,000 or better at larger
scales. It follows that the geographical coverage of a model is
influenced by its final size. Reducing the scale, to, say 1:50,000,
in order to cover larger areas limits accuracy and the ability of
informants to internalize the model and to transpose their
knowledge. A solution is to produce a series of models - to be made
and displayed at different locations - each one covering a portion
of the desired area. Obviously this process would require more time
and added financial and human resources.
Do participants get paid?
The essence of participatory approaches is the full
participation of people in the processes of learning about their
needs and opportunities, and in the action required to address them.
Informants and representatives from all stakeholder groups generally
work in a voluntary capacity. Facilitators should support the costs
of transport, food and lodging.
How much does it cost and what
supplies are needed?
An illustrated supply list is available
The Table below summarizes the costs involved in the
conduct of one P3DM exercise in Vietnam in November 2001. The
facilitation cost has not been computed because it varies depending
on the resource persons involved. Based on the computation shown on
the Table, the information generated in both physical (3-D) and
digital formats for a total area of 700 sq. km at 1:10,000-scale,
has cost USD 4.16 USD/km2 or USD 0.04/hectare. Other exercises
conducted in the Philippines in 1999 resulted in unitary costs
ranging from 2 to 3 USD/km2 due to the fact that neither pocket
money nor translation fees had to be disbursed.
P3DM exercise (USD)
Supplies (including the procurement of digital contours
and the preparation of base maps: editing and attributing
accommodation, food and pocket money for key informants (76
Three days of
food for 30 students and teachers
two interpreters English-Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Thai
digitizing and printing of thematic maps (10-14 working days)
Digital Camera (high resolution) (*)
activities (procurement, preparation of logistics, meetings,
community organizing, etc.) (**)
(*) Element of
cost not included in the computation because the items are
already available as project assets.
(**) Element of
cost not included in the computation because Project staff
conducted the activity as part of the routing project
activities (recurrent cost).
How many participants (informants)
are required for a 3-D model?
The number of participants working at one time
should allow everyone to physically access the model. An overcrowded
venue is cause of distraction of and loss of momentum by participants.
Splitting participants in groups of 20-25 and making provisions for
brief overlapping of groups to allow cross-fertilization and
crosschecking is the best way to go.
Who does the community
Community mobilizing is one of the most important
components of the process which leads to the construction of a 3-D
model. Locally based organizations (NGOs, Local Government Units, protected area
offices, etc.) best do the job.
In the Philippines P3DM has been
used in the contexts of protected area management and Indigenous
Peoples' self-determination. Are there any other situations where relief
modeling has been adopted?
Community-based relief models have been used for
watershed management in Thailand and for negotiating access to
resources in Indonesia. The technique is fast spreading. Updates are
regularly available on this web site.
Are there additional
applications of P3DM in the context of development work?
3-D models can readily be linked to Geographic
Information Systems and have ample possibilities of being used for
collaborative research, planning and management in the sectors of
environmental protection, community-based natural resource
management, agricultural production, rural development, poverty
alleviation, health, transport and water supply. The 3-D modeling
process and its output (the scaled relief model) are the foundations
upon which participatory GIS can release its full potential.
To what extent is P3DM feasible in
densely populated areas?
Densely populated areas can be reproduced in
3-dimensional format at a scale, which meets the purpose of the
exercise. 1:10,000-scale or larger would suffice for generating
household level information. Densely populated areas are generally
located in alluvial planes. Small-interval contour lines should be
used to depict as many landmarks as possible. Horizontal and
vertical scales should differ to enhance the perception of slope and
How long does it take to complete
the process from community mobilization to the production of the
model and derived digital information?
Depending on available information on
socio-economic-, cultural and land use data, topography, etc. and community
preparedness: three to four months.
preparatory phase (i.e. stakeholder analysis and community
organizing) is crucial to assuring a fair representation of different
interests during the conduct of the exercise(s). Skilled
facilitation is needed to deal with individuals or groups, who may
want to impose their views or vested interests. In the case of conflicting and
non-negotiable information sets, P3DM offers the opportunity to
superimpose information sets by using different coding
means (e.g. colored yarns).
What is the truth? Who's
knowledge counts? These are recurrent questions surfacing while
doing community-based work. A P3D model accommodates a blend of
knowledge collated by key informants. Outsiders may inject additional information (e.g. aerial photography or satellite
imagery) as the basis for further community-based discussion and analysis.
Field verification done jointly with interested parties and the use
of GPS (in the case of boundary disputes) may help resolving
The purpose of the exercise
should be defined a forehand jointly with the stakeholders'
community. Participatory 3-D Modeling should not be seen as
an extractive research practice, but as a means to enhance
community-based awareness and develop analytical skills, by
broadening local perspectives. Therefore - in an ideal world -
the outputs (relief model and thematic maps) should be owned by the
participating stakeholders, who should use them to fulfill their
Remember that, P3-DM is
designed to be part of a broader intervention, aimed at full Participation
of people who are in the process of Learning about their
needs and opportunities, and ready to take Action to address
them. Thus, in order for outsiders to apply this process, they must
fulfill two preconditions:
first is to have a thorough understanding of the cultural and
socio-economic setting of the area.
second is to have the ability to support communities in implementing
strategies and actions to follow-up the P3-DM process.
What skills are needed for
It depends on the phase of the process.
I get updates on Participatory 3-Dimendional Modeling?
An article on P3DM
has appeared on IIED's
Notes No. 39 (October 2000 issue). A
detailed manual is now available