last updated on:
June 03, 2012
See the Process
“Knowledge can be considered as the
sum of interconnected rules of interpretation through which
we understand, give meaning, perceive or interpret the world around
us”. (Leeuwis, 2004)
Knowledge is what we store in our mind and what leads
us to take decisions, act and react to stimuli received from the
external world. Knowledge is very subjective and builds up in
everybody’s mind through a continuous learning process involving,
among others, concrete experiences, observations and reflections,
formation of concepts and their testing.
At one end of the spectrum we find what is considered
as our “unconscious knowledge”, which is characterized by perceptions
and motives that we are not aware of and which is “sealed off” by
psychological conditioning. This means that we have to overcome
emotional barriers in order to gain access to it.
Our unconscious fades into what is frequently referred
to as tacit knowledge, which corresponds to knowledge that we are not
immediately aware of, on which we base our day-to-day actions, but
which is somehow difficult to articulate. This type of knowledge can
be elicited through in-depth discussions and interactive exercises
(e.g. PRA/PLA tools) including visualizing methods like
Participatory 3D Modeling (P3DM).
The third category is known as explicit. This is knowledge that we are
aware of, have reflected upon and can easily capture in verbal,
textual, physical or visual formats (Leeuwis, 2004), and that
transforms into information.
It is important to appreciate these differentiations
because P3DM is the method that facilitates the visualization of mainly
tacit (spatial) knowledge, and increases through an intensive learning
process the amount of knowledge we are fully aware of. This enhances
our capacities to analyze, communicate and interact on specific
issues, which got much clearer in our mind.
(also known as mental maps) are internal representations of the world
and its spatial properties stored in memory. They frequently represent
portions of our tacit and explicit knowledge and are visualized with
the use of sketch maps, transect diagrams, scale maps, drawings and
physical or virtual 3-dimensional models.
Compared to high-tech Spatial Information Technologies,
P3DM is a proven method that can be handled in rural areas within
locally available technical capacities, and can visualize spatial
knowledge particularly among communities characterized by low
literacy, language barriers and lack of basic utilities (e.g. electric
power) (Tan-Kim-Yong, 1992 and 1994; Rambaldi et al.,
2002; Hoare et al., 2002).
Different from other visualizing tools (i.e.
mapping) characterized by variable levels of accuracy,
3-D modeling offers the
opportunity to produce relatively precise geo-referenced and scaled
qualitative and quantitative data, adding substantial value and
communication power to indigenous technical knowledge (ITK).