Thoughts on Goodchild (2010)

This paper by Goodchild (2010) is an assessment of the (then) current state of the field of GISciences. Goodchild talks about the beginnings of the field of GISciences, research accomplishments and current agendas, and future predictions for the field. I often struggle to develop a conceptual framework for GIS, so I was happy to see that this paper did just that. By defining the field as the intersection between computers, society, and humans, I feel that I have a much clearer understanding of what GIScience actually is and the disciplines that it was born out of. Although, I feel that it’s worth noting that this conceptual framework doesn’t explicitly mention anything spatial…

This paper left me thinking about where GIScience fits within existing bodies of geographic thought. Goodchild’s many references to Tobler reminded me of geography’s “quantitative revolution” in the mid 50s. It seems to me that GIScience as it is today is only possible because of previous efforts to develop the field of spatial science, which is based on rigorous statistical techniques and scientific ways of theorizing. I was then thinking more broadly about theoretical understandings of space, and discussions of absolute vs. relative space. Yes, dimensions of space can be measured, but space can also be experienced, tied to significant symbolic meaning, and transformed by the perspective of the individual. GIScience fits very well within absolute theories of space, but how can it be adapted to answer questions about relative space?

  • janejacobs

One Response to “Thoughts on Goodchild (2010)”

  1. site admin says:

    Ah, spatial science. Is GIScience merely a rebranding of spatial science? Is spatial science an attempt to separate the concepts like scale or relative space from the discipline of geography? Good start to GEOG 506 blog posts.

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