Temporal GIScience


It is often said that space, place, and time are three fundamental foci of geographical inquiry. GIScience shares the spatial outlook, significance of place, and temporal way of thinking, however, the latter is relegated more often than not. Yuan (****) notes that many geographic information systems lack the tools needed to conduct spatio-temporal analyses. This presents a significant research gap in the realm of GIScience.

Yuan highlights that temporal datasets are subject to a unique problems intrinsic to the factor of time. Modeling and visualization are particularly challenging. Yuan points out that time is not a singular structure – there is linear, cyclic, parallel, and branching structures of time. Additionally, time occupies multiple dimensions, corresponding to validity, transaction, user-definition, and institutions. The latter set of examples was an entirely new set of concepts for me and I would have appreciated an unpacking of these concepts. Yuan’s acknowledgement of temporal complexity was certainly required, however, the diverse features of time come across as an afterthought in this paper.

Temporal GIS is certainly an intriguing subfield of GIScience, however, there seems to be a steep theoretical learning curve. Unfortunately, this article did not make my introduction to temporal GIS any easier.


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