Jon Corbett PhD

I am a professor of Human Geography in the department of Community Culture and Global Studies at UBC Okanagan. I am also the director of the Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER) and the director of the Spatial Information for Community Engagement (SpICE) Lab. 


Since starting at UBC Okanagan in August 2006, I have designed and taught a wide variety of undergraduate, graduate and directed studies courses related to Human Geography, the Geospatial Web, Cartography and Community Based Participatory Research. I take my teaching very seriously, intending to provide a rich and engaging experience for students through tailoring each class specifically to promote critical thinking, engagement and a broader understanding of the contribution and responsibilities of students as global citizens.

I am an active member of two of UBC Okanagan's Interdisciplinary Graduate Study themes: Community Engagement, Social Change and Equity (CESCE) and Sustainability. I supervise undergraduate, masters and doctoral students.

Research Participatory Mapping

The practice side of my research explores how map-making (both paper and digital) is used by communities to document, store and communicate their spatial knowledge. The theoretical side examines how this spatial representation can alter a community internally, as well as externally, through increasing influence over decision-making and agency in the process of social change.

All aspects of my research incorporate a core community element, meaning that the work is of tangible benefit for the communities with whom I work; that those communities feel a strong sense of ownership over the research process; and that community members are engaged and engage in the research endeavour.

If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in participatory mapping, community mapping, the participatory geoweb and or spatial justice related issues please contact me. I am always looking for motivated students to join our team in ICER and the SpICE Lab.

Ongoing research

Several projects that my students and I are working on.
Impacts of Participatory Mapping

To date, research that critically examines the benefits of participatory mapping has been anecdotal, little is known about the long-term impacts. This collaborative project explores how we can create lasting changes in addressing inequity, and contributing to collective good.

Indigenous Land Referrals Mangement

There are currently few open-source tools to facilitate the resource management referral process that could streamline the duty to consult between government, proponents and First Nation communities in British Columbia, Canada. We are collaboratively developing tools to facilitate decision-making relating to the referral process.

Homelessness in Small Canadian Towns 

Access to affordable and accessible housing is increasingly problematic in the Okanagan. We designed an online web mapping tool to assist individuals looking for low-income rentals, supportive housing or emergency shelters, this website helps pinpoint housing and the agencies that provide it, within the City of Kelowna.

About me

I am originally from the UK. I met my partner while we were both doing graduate work in Oxford. When our first child was born, we moved to Canada and have been privileged to have lived in British Columbia since 1998.

In 2006 we moved from Victoria to the Okanagan to work at UBC's newly opened campus in the region. It has been an amazing experience to see, and be involved in the growth and maturing of the university. The Okanagan has also been a wonderful place to live.



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