Temporal GIS

“Temporal GIS and Spatio-Temporal Modeling” by Yuan explores the development of temporal GIS and its applicability to support spatio-temporal modeling, highlighting the challenges associated with temporal modeling of spatial information and pointing to avenues for future research.
Before reading this article, I had not fully appreciated the complexity and difficulty of creating a temporal GIS. The importance of creating a database structure that effectively anticipates the types of spatio-temporal questions to be investigated was well emphasized. While this paper focused on exploring spatio-temporal physical phenomena, similar issues are relevant in the investigation of human or behavioral phenomena, such as spatial social network analyses, migration patterns of time, changes in urbanscapes etc.
The relationships of temporal GIS with other topics in GIScience are numerous. For example, ontologies of time and space need to be properly established to construct a good temporal GIS that facilitates data analysis, and enables interoperability between datasets. Moreover, concerns over geo-spatial metadata are compounded when you consider geo-spatial temporal data. Is temporal information captured in the metadata or is incorporated in the data structure (and is such a distinction (between data and metadata) even meaningful in this context). Issues of temporal scale become important: To what level of precision is temporal data recorded, and what are the implications of temporal aggregation in accurately conveying temporal dimension of a phenomenon?
The questions that arise when exploring the temporal component of spatial phenomenon emphasize the scientific dimension of GIS and highlight the importance of studying GIS as science as instead of as a tool.


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