Spatial Cyberinfrastructure

Wright and Wang’s article, The emergence of spatial cyberinfrastructure, discusses the basic components of Cyberinfrastructure and provides an overview of spatial cyberinfrastructure specifically. This was my first introduction to cyberinfrastructure, especially of the spatial variety (S.C.I.). After reading the article, it became clear to me the power that S.C.I. has and the benefit it can provide to the study of G.I.S. and other geographic fields of interest.

One part I found interesting was how S.C.I. could enable very large sets of spatial data to be efficiently and quickly processed and analyzed. It reminds me of a section of a book I recently read (Halo: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund), where a spaceship can circle a planet and have a complete spectroscopic analysis of the surface within minutes, all without the need for human involvement (a process those who took/are taking Geog 308 know would take many months of labour). While currently solely in the realm of science fiction, advances in S.C.I. would hopefully one day make that feasible.

Another fascinating idea the authors touched upon was how S.C.I. would facilitate collaboration among scientists, and especially between traditional scientist and citizen scientists. Given that geography is a multidisciplinary field of study, this co-operation is critical for the advancement of geographic thought as a whole, and especially G.I.Science. More advanced S.C.I. could increase the usefulness of citizen science by providing better platforms for such science to occur, or by expediting the analysis of large quantities of spatial data provided by citizen scientists (i.e. location tagging on Twitter).


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