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Über dieses Buch

Globalisation has not led to the ‘death of geography’. Intensified relations between communities in different parts of the world have only highlighted the need for understanding and managing phenomena on a variety of geographic scales. From global warming to credit crunch, and from epidemics to terrorism, causes and solutions are sought on local, regional, national as well as inter-continental levels. With the advent of Geospatial Technology, scholars, policymakers and entrepreneurs have valuable tools in hand to proceed.

This book offers the first systematic account of the science behind this mental and technological revolution. Tracing the adoption and dissemination of Geospatial Technology in a range of disciplines, it examines the impact this technology has had, and is likely to have, on the explanation of spatial behaviour, phenomena and processes. At the same time, stressing innovative usage, it explores scientific contributions to technology advancement.



Chapter 1. Geospatial Technology and the Role of Location in Science

This book originates from observations that whilst an increasing body of scholars and students are using geographical information and computing technologies (geo-ICT) across a widening range of academic disciplines, there is relatively little systematic knowledge about the way in which these technologies are being used or the impact that the adoption of geo-ICT is making on each discipline. In this introductory chapter, we set the scene by explaining our definition of geo-ICT and acknowledging the increasing importance of spatial concepts in scientific research. Thereafter, we review how scientific practice changes over time before explaining the structure of the book and outlining the key questions that contributors were asked to address which underline the two main aims of the book: to increase knowledge of the current use of Geo-ICT in scientific research and to come up with (methodological) strategies to promote more effective use of geo-ICT in the future.

Niels van Manen, Henk J. Scholten, Rob van de Velde

Chapter 2. Location across Disciplines: Reflections on the CSISS Experience

This chapter describes a strategy for the national dissemination of spatial analytic methods for research and teaching in the social sciences in the United States developed by the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS). The strategy was based around a set of key programmes: residential workshops that trained hundreds of scholars in geographical information systems (GIS), cartographic visualisation and spatial statistics; the development of exploratory spatial data analysis tools for spatial econometric studies; symposia for advancing new initiatives for advancing spatial methodologies and applications in the social sciences; and publications that highlighted best practices for spatial thinking. Through the work of CSISS and other organisations, by 2008 there was a significant growth in interest among the social sciences in spatial reasoning. The lessons learned from the experiences of CSISS offer guidance on broad-based dissemination efforts across disciplines and for future initiatives on the basic concepts of spatial thinking. A suggested set of concepts is proposed as a basis for augmenting knowledge in diverse fields through applications of spatial thinking and methodologies.

Donald G. Janelle, Michael F. Goodchild

Chapter 3. Location Awareness 2020: Addressing Auto-identification and Location in the 2020s

The paper illustrates the results of a scenario analysis exercise for theevolution and impacts of location and sensor technologies in the 2020s. The paper introduces real-time automatic location and identification and describes the scenario approach which aims at the identification of drivers, trends and scenarios for location awareness in the medium term. Based on the input of scientists and scholars in various disciplines, the paper provides examples of drivers and trends and describes the four scenarios which were identified in the study. They illustrate plausible futures where location and identification are far more ubiquitous than now, but which underline different evolutions of technologies and their adoption, ranging from enthusiastic adoption to resistance and problematic implementations. It elaborates on the meaning of the scenarios and on the main conclusions of the study, as well as on the implications for research and science.

Euro Beinat, John Steenbruggen

Chapter 4. Visualising Landscapes: Do Pictures Represent Theory or Data?

Aesthetic features of landscape pictures play a role in many stages of research in geography and landscape ecology. The ability to discern patterns in pictures is dependent on the availability of two Gestalts: the holistic and the fragmented landscape. The former was historically formed around the landscape painting, the latter is evident in aerial photography and pictures of landscapes on the basis of remote sensing. Gestalts are at the beginning of a road towards increasing mathematisation. But at the end of the road, the qualities of the images (usually obtained after a modeling process) do not revolve around geometric abstraction, but rather, in an opposite way, they show the unforeseen. Inspecting images for unexpected outcomes can be seen as a form of ‘de-mathematisation’.

Chunglin Kwa, Mieke van Hemert, Lieuwe van der Weij

Chapter 5. Past in Place: The Role of Geo-ICT in Present-day Archaeology

The steadily growing bond between Geo-ICT and archaeology, which follows from the inherently spatial nature of the archaeological record and its interdisciplinary character, involves a wide range of spatial applications from subsurface modelling to distribution maps and predictive modelling. Despite the potential of Geo-ICT for archaeology, its penetration in the discipline is not as extensive as might be expected. The role of education and the approach to technology and information science that archaeologists have adopted are important factors in this development. More specifically, the adoption of Geo-ICT in archaeology is influenced by the field of activity, the nature of the archaeological record and the theoretical perspective. The last factor is particularly influential because it determines which concept of human space is used and consequently the most feasible Geo-ICT methods. Archaeologists are less worried about the geomodelling framework than about the lack of financial resources for software, data and basic training, the limitations of Geo-ICT methods for 3D and temporal modelling, and problems of data conversion and sustainability. The integration of Geo-ICT in archaeology would benefit from a new theoretical framework, together with a concerted effort from different sciences to set up campus-wide support and Geo-ICT infrastructure for multidisciplinary research and collaboration.

Alfred J. Wagtendonk, Philip Verhagen, Steven Soetens, Karen Jeneson, Maurice de Kleijn

Chapter 6. No Place in History – Geo-ICT and Historical Science

Geographical information systems (GIS) can be powerful tools for historical science: for presentation, exploration, analysis and reconstruction, as a portal to historical information and to facilitate research. In fact, very limited use has actually been made of them. Where GIS has been used, it has been outside traditional historical departments, in economics, geography or sociology. In general, history departments remain very reluctant to include modern research methods such as GIS in their curricula. As a consequence, there is no place in history.

Onno W.A. Boonstra

Chapter 7. Geo-ICT in Demography: The Impact of Developments in Geoinformation and Geotechnology on the Discipline of Demography

Developments in geoinformation and geocommunications technologies have had a profound impact on demography over the last 30 years, stimulating the transformation from a discipline strongly grounded in a spatial theory, concept and method to one in which the geographical dimension has gained increasing prominence. New fields such as spatial demography and geodemographics have emerged, and new geodatasets have become available, facilitated by new user-friendly web-based access interfaces. Moreover, new visualisation, analysis and modelling methods have been developed that make use of the enhancements in computer power and sophistication. This chapter provides an overview of these changes and suggests that modelling remains the dominant approach, while use is made of the geotechnology tools for database management and mapping.

John Stillwell

Chapter 8. The Adoption of Geo-ICT in Economics: Increasing Opportunities for Spatial Research in Economics

The significance of location and its diverse economic impacts is increasingly recognised and studied in the discipline of economics. Geo-ICT is used mostly in the subdiscipline of spatial economics, where GIS software is used in combination with existing spatially-explicit theories. The increasing availability of spatial data, analytical methods and computer processing power has offered researchers ways of exploring spatially-related phenomena in previously impenetrable fields like the dynamics behind the use of space. This trend will continue in future since dynamic location technologies are currently being adopted throughout society, offering new opportunities for collecting near real-time location data on objects and people. This chapter describes the discipline of economics and focuses on the use of Geo-ICT, in the past, present and near future, in the field of spatial economics.

Jasper Dekkers, Piet Rietveld

Chapter 9. Spatial Planning and Geo-ICT: How Spatial Planners Invented GIS and Are Still Learning How to Use It

Location is a fundamental aspect of spatial planning. It is subject to, and the result of, planning activities. It is therefore not surprising that the first incentives for the development of tools for spatial data management and spatial analysis came from professionals who were engaged in spatial planning. This chapter describes the development and interaction between the evolvement of spatial planning and the rapid development of Geo-ICT in the past decades. This is illustrated with examples of Geo-ICT applications used for spatial planning over the years, from very basic land use models via more advanced models to integrated systems supporting discussion and decision making. Key issues as the growing importance of the communicative aspects of planning processes and the concept of planning as a participatory process are adressed. Through the revolutionary development of internet technology along with geospatial technology new future crossroads between Geo-ICT and spatial planning are foreseen. Although Geo-ICT and spatial planning appear to be closely related interrelated in scientific development, it is stated that the use of Geo-ICT in spatial planning practice lags behind expectations. The key obstacles related to this in methodology, data and competences are reviewed.

Arjen de Wit, Adri van den Brink, Arnold K. Bregt, Rob van de Velde

Chapter 10. Geo-ICT: Connecting Physical and Virtual Geographies

Physical geography, in its many flavours, subdisciplines and application domains, has been a cornerstone of geography and the spatial sciences in general for a long time. Due to its affinity with the ‘hard’ natural sciences, quantitative techniques were introduced early on, followed later by ICT applications. Researchers readily adopted these technologies to support statistical, mapping and remote sensing techniques. Geo-ICT then moved from a supporting towards a facilitating and key enabling technology. Research into global change, monitoring of land use changes over large areas, simulating complex multidimensional processes and developing scenarios on the interaction between the social and natural spheres simply would not be possible without Geo-ICT.

Today, most research in physical geography is conducted from a wider environmental science perspective. This means a move towards a system dynamics approach, allowing analyses to be made of interconnected processes which are well beyond the reach of research methodologies that do not rely heavily on Geo-ICT. Although not yet capable of fully supporting system dynamics approaches, this systems science approach is opening up novel pathways for answering old questions like ‘What is there?’ ‘Why is it there?’ and ‘What does the fact that it is there mean?’ A range of technological innovations in remote sensing, positioning services, geospatial data types in databases, system dynamics models, real-time sensors and semantic web services are driving future development. Physical geography typically benefits from some early adopters, but established paradigms are slow to change. Connecting physical geography to ‘virtual representations’ using a set of Geo-ICT tools certainly requires more fundamental change than merely ‘automating’ traditional workflows.

Josef Strobl

Chapter 11. The Role of Place and Time in the Epidemiology of Tropical Diseases

The diseases found predominantly within or around the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn have been among the most virulent and destructive, arresting the economic development of the human populations affected and remaining a significant public health risk even in the 21st century. Chief among these tropical diseases is malaria, an insect vector-borne disease which causes great loss of life and which has outwitted many of the major advances in medical science. Such insect vector-borne diseases are closely synchronised to the annual seasonal rainfall patterns as well as the physical geography of the environment. Other diseases, such as bacterial meningitis, occur in those locations where water is absent from the environment and is closely related to the timing of moisture changes and cultural affectations of the human populations affected. This paper seeks to examine the specific roles of location and time in the epidemiology of tropical diseases and asks what technological advances (and methodological innovations) might help reduce the burden of such diseases in the future.

Mark Cresswell

Chapter 12. Real Crimes on Virtual Maps: The Application of Geography and GIS in Criminology

Criminology is the scientific discipline that studies the phenomena of crime and delinquency. Criminology has links to other sciences like biology, sociology, psychology, policing and geography. As early as the beginning of the 19th century, criminologists became aware of spatial patterns in criminal behaviour. By mapping crime rates, these studies provided a series of important findings. The notion of place and space in crime was born. Between 1930 and 1970 issues of

social ecology

were studied, while between 1970 and 2007 environmental criminology became a prominent area of interest and research. Due to an increasing interest in issues like ‘spatial behaviour’ and ‘behaviour in space’ by geographers in the 1960s, many new concepts and ideas came to the attention of environmental criminologists. Initially, environmental criminology concentrated on the development of theories and models, but during the late 1980s and 1990s concepts from


information science were applied by both researchers and practitioners on a large scale. Over the last decade there has been an observable increase in the use of Geo-ICT, especially in practical settings like law enforcement and academic research on crime. However, this introduces problems and challenges for both researchers and practitioners. This chapter provides a brief description of the evolving and expanding application of geography and GIS in criminology and police practice and puts forward some solutions to overcome problems and challenges.

Johan G.J. van Schaaik, Jasper J. van der Kemp

Chapter 13. Geo-ICT for Risk and Disaster Management

There is no doubt about the importance of Geo-ICT in risk and disaster management. Systems that make use of geo-information are used in all activities before, during and after the occurrence of a disaster. In this chapter we address the use of Geo-ICT before and during disasters. Special attention will be given to the use of geo-information, such as risk maps, topographical maps, etc. A brief analysis of current risk maps and of their limitations sets the stage for research that could overcome some of the present unsatisfactory aspects of risk maps. Access to and provision of spatial information is examined with respect to the needs of emergency response systems and the challenges in the use of geo-information for disaster management are discussed.

Sisi Zlatanova, Andrea G. Fabbri

Chapter 14. Geo-ICT in Transportation Science

Since geographical information systems (GIS) first appeared, transportation scientists found them to be a natural aid, at first for representing the spatial and later the temporal aspects of transportation networks and infrastructures. As GIS developed, so did their use in transportation science and they became essential not only for visualisation but also to facilitate and speed up data management, algorithmic operations and decision making. This paper analyses the contributions and influence of GIS in transport science on the basis of three frameworks: geodatabase, geomapping, and geomodelling, all of which highlight the importance of location.

Maria Teresa Borzacchiello, Irene Casas, Biagio Ciuffo, Peter Nijkamp

Chapter 15. Geographical Information Systems and Geography Teaching

The growing popularisation of spatial tools all point to a growing need for spatial perspective. Recent international publications in the field of geography in education state that Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are an important tool to promote spatial literacy. In secondary education, there is a slowly growing interest in GIS. Besides differences, the developments in this field in the different countries also show many similarities. This contribution shows that many studies of GIS use in educational situations are enthusiastic descriptions of experiences, but that research on the contribution of GIS to education is scarce. Teacher training in learning about GIS and learning with GIS is necessary to enhance students’ “learning to think” capacity. Interactive learning about topics as urbanization, land use, water, security and logistics can be visualized much better than before with modern spatial technology provided there are capable teachers.

Joop van der Schee, Henk J. Scholten

Chapter 16. Synthesis: Geospatial Technology and the Role of Location in Science

We now arrive at the end of a special explorative journey. Over the last three years we have been considering the question of what role Geospatial Technology plays in science, given the importance of spatial location not only as the dimension underpinning the discipline of geography, but also because of its relevance and adoption across a range of different disciplines. As Norman M. Bradburn, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation stated in 2004: “We are at the dawn of a revolution in spatially oriented social science.” Change in technology within location-based industries has been occurring very rapidly and applications of location-based technology have now become increasingly common in routine, everyday society.

Niels van Manen, Henk J. Scholten, John Stillwell, Rob van de Velde


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