Race to the Bottom

GIS strives for something that seems near impossible, a blanket solution for a problem with more than one solution. Humans are fickle, subjective, and by and large ignorant in comparison to the communal wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Thus, people, in the world of Geo-visualization, the user, are never going to be able to use just one form of representation. The variable, subject-based, method is what everyone aims for, but unless the user is allowed to actively input parameters, be it consciously or unconsciously, we will end up with the same stale result every time.
Malleable representations can only come from organic production methods, which up to now, at least in the world of computer science and GIS, do not exist. Still, MacEachren and Kraak have a positive outlook on the field. Either because they believe it is possible, or because it must be. In the very beginning they claim that it is estimated that up to 80% of all digital data include geospatial referencing, only to follow on later with the assertion that everything must exist in space; whether that is the case is still up for debate by string theorists. However, there must be a diminishing point of return. How far must one go before the field of GIS is satisfied? At the rate we’re going, it won’t be until virtual environments achieve the uncanny valley, or are able to surpass it. At which point, it won’t matter where things are located in space, as you’ll have a hard time stripping physical reality from data driven fantasy.



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