Generally Confusing Infrastructure

I have long been more than just a little confused as to what Cyberinfrastructure exactly is and my confusion can be adequately embodied by my response to the figure shown in this article titled “GCI Framework Cube” – a lot of words not not a lot of understanding to match on my end. Despite my initial reluctance to engage with GCI this article brought to light the vast importance of the subject to the field of GISCience.

We live in a complex world, one that is also incredibly data-rich. Advancements in computers, network technology and electronics has made access and sharing of information rapid in comparison to previous generations. With stronger geospatial cyberinfrastructure (GCI), geospatial science research will flourish. Yang et al., identify multiple examples of how advancing technology in storing, integrating and utilizing large sums of georeferenced data have benefited different studies, all this while at the same time identifying the need for further advancement.

Upon reading the article I felt the authors did not succeed in introducing clearly and simply GCI to the group identified in their introduction. For most of the article I was buried under layers of jargon, left to fend for myself with general concepts and ideas. The section on enabling technologies provided the most clarity to my confusion. The article enhanced the base knowledge I had but still left me with many questions on a subject so vast. Perhaps if I saw GIS as less of a tool, these concepts would have come easier. It feels all too fluffy and intangible to me. High performance computing, earth observation, open access technology were among the technologies I would have previously attributed to GCI but newer concepts and ideas have been added to this collection through the article – and I will seek out understanding this subject at a deeper level over time.

– Othello


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