Rethink GIS and Communication Technologies

It is a good question to ask what is the most important component of GIS, or who contrives the ‘Real’ in GIS. In order to clarify this problem we come to a series of context and communication problems due to the large argument in this field. Critical theory has been applied in the paper published by Aitken et al. in 1995, attempting to clarify these problems. Authors present the relationship between communication and GIS development, but the changes of GIS in recent research should not be overlooked. Geographic information science, sometimes referred to a kind of toll making process, is largely impacted by the advance of new technologies. Here I only talk about the development of communication technologies in GIS research.


Remote sensing, web 2.0, mobile technologies, all these technologies change how people obtain geospatial information and how they communicate with each other. With remote sensing, spectral information enables object based classification and data analysis, to utilize computers to extract geospatial information from satellite image data. Web 2.0, which provides a new platform for geospatial information exchange, begins to change how people access and contribute geospatial data. And mobile technologies enables the idea of GIS anywhere, with the development of cell phone, wearable computer, wireless sensor network, to name a few here.


Another problem we should pay attention to in communication technologies is information verification. With the development of mobile technologies, GIS applications which collect geospatial information through text message begin to emerge (e.g., Ushahidi). However, there is no guarantee about whether the geospatial information provided by users is reliable. Therefore, information verification technologies should be explored in GIS, due to the large amount of information is impossible to check with human operators.



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