Down the Rabbit Hole

My very first thought this week was: “Why are we being assigned this article? What does social networks analysis have to do with GIScience?” A few sentences into the article and it struck me like an anvil over the head – EVERYTHING is related to GIScience nowadays. On this note, when reading this article I was able to draw two small parallels and an overall large realization.

Firstly, in network analysis data management is obviously key. There is just so much data out there these days (within a year the average person produces 1.8 million mega bytes of data – that’s 9 CDs a day). Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to organize the data into a fashion which makes it possible to analyze. This was the easiest parallel to draw – when we get spatial data that we want to analyze in ArcMap we have to organize it first.

Secondly, there is the data analysis portion of network analysis (surprise, surprise). Of course there is the obvious: you have to run statistical models in GIS and in network analysis. This second parallel brought me to my large realization (call it an epiphany if you will): this entire article is a debate on what type of analysis is considered tangible or scientifically legitimate. This reminds me of that pesky background argument – is GIS a science or a tool? Is qualitative analysis a legitimate way of network analysis? Seem a bit familiar? It even gives the three options that we get in the GIScience debate: one (quantitative/tool), the other (qualitative/science), or mixed (a happy marriage of both). Seeing as I somewhat agree with the qualitative argument in network analysis, this got me considering the ‘s’ in GIS as a science…down the rabbit hole we go.

Until next time,


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