On Wright et al (1997)

This article was a great kick-off to our course, as it highlighted just how far we’ve come — and the advances we can make — by discussing GIS as GIScience.

Since 1997, the number of GIS users alone has grown exponentially due to the increasing use of location-based services thanks to smartphones and the widespread use of the internet worldwide. GIS users are no longer required to have formal training to use software, and the average person can contribute data about locations, contributing to the success of platforms such as OpenStreetMaps, Waze, GasBuddy, and many others.

Also, because of the incredible advancements in technology and GIS more specifically in the last 20 years, there should be a new review of those who think about the science of GIS. It seems to me, anyways, that most GIS users are just that- users (ie. tool users and toolmakers, by Wright et al’s definition). It would be interesting to see if the new users of GIS, like computer scientists, entrepreneurs, planners, surveillance technicians, volunteer cartographers, or even everyday people, evaluate GIS as a science, and if so, how they define science or how they define GIScience according to their experiences.

And, does GIS need to be defined as a science today? Many people who use GISystems are using a variety of platforms and creating a variety of platforms that rely on the tool to answer questions (à la the Scientific Method). The creation of these platforms shows that there is recognition of the GIS (tool) as a tool in the toolbox of researchers and scientists and less than simply the investigation of irregularities/trends in spatial data. I will be interested in learning more about why the definition of “science” is important, since it seems like today, most do not concern themselves with such nuanced definitions. 

Comments are closed.