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Resources 2014, 3(1), 235-247; doi:10.3390/resources3010235
GIS and Urban Mining
Received: 5 December 2013; in revised form: 22 February 2014 / Accepted: 24 February 2014 / Published: 3 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wealth from Waste: Urban Metal Resources and Industrial Ecology)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Geographical information systems (GIS) are a kind of location intelligence technology that supports systematic collection, integration, analysis and sharing of spatial data. They provide an effective tool for characterising and visualising geographical distributions of recyclable resources or materials dispersed across urban environments in what may be described as “urban mines”. As logistics can be a key barrier to recycling, GIS are critical for capturing and analysing location intelligence about the distribution and values of recyclable resources and associated collection systems to effectively empower and inform the policy makers and the broader community with comprehensive, accurate and accessible information. This paper reviews the functionality of modern GIS, discusses the potential role of GIS in urban mining studies, and describes how GIS can be used to measure, report, analyse and visualise the spatial or geographical characteristics of dispersed stocks of recyclable waste and their collection and recovery systems. Such information can then be used to model material flows and assess the social and environmental impacts of urban mining. Issues and challenges in the use of GIS for urban mining are also to be addressed.
Keywords: urban mining; recyclable resources; material flows; location intelligence; GIS