Kuhn (2012) – Core concepts of spatial information

Kuhn’s argument is structured around central questions we can ask about spatial information: where is it located, what is it near to, what else is there, what are its properties, what is it connected to, how has it changed over time, how precise/ correct/ valuable is it? Scale, uncertainty and visualisation are presented as overarching themes, covering ten core concepts. Does this provide are fair representation of the field, and what does it do to address the obstacles of interdisciplinary research?
I found Kuhn’s list of questions the easiest way to navigate a paper which was (perhaps necessarily) conceptually dense. These provided a strong starting point for thinking broadly about spatial information. Similarly to Mark’s paper, the author characterises their area of interest by breaking a core idea down into its constituent parts. While ten is a nice round number, I would argue that some important areas might be more explicitly represented. Namely, concepts which answer the questions of how is spatial information perceived, why it is produced and who produces it.
A basic, but key challenge to the exchanging of ideas across different fields is language – each has its own set of definitions, syntaxes and assumptions. Interdisciplinary work must therefore seek common ground and anticipate potential sites of conflict. This paper communicates to the GISc community and makes some suggestions as to how this community might function to map between other disciplines. Perhaps the ideas could be made clearer for other audiences by relating back to some of the examples given in the introduction (e.g. biodiversity, climate change, poverty), or by further discussing applications of the core concepts in other fields.

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