2015 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

# Outline of a Formal Theory of Processes and Events, and Why GIScience Needs One

Author : Antony Galton

Published in: Spatial Information Theory

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Published in:

2015 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Author : Antony Galton

Published in: Spatial Information Theory

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

It has often been noted that traditional GIScience, with its focus on data-modelling functions such as the input, storage, retrieval, organisation, manipulation, and presentation of data, cannot readily accommodate the process-modelling functions such as explanation, prediction, and simulation which it is increasingly acknowledged should form an essential element of the GI scientist’s toolkit. Although there are doubtless many different reasons for this seeming incompatibility, this paper singles out for consideration the different views of time presupposed by the two kinds of function: on the one hand, the ‘frozen’ historical time required by data modelling, and on the other, the ‘fluid’ experiential time required by process modelling. Whereas the former places an emphasis on events as discrete completed wholes, the latter is concerned with on-going continuous processes as they evolve from moment to moment. In order to reconcile the data-modelling and process-modelling requirements of GIScience, therefore, a formal theory of processes and events is developed, within which their fundamental properties can be made explicit independently of any specific implementation context, and their relationships systematically investigated.

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