Goodchild 1992

This article is a snapshot of scholarly attitudes towards GIS in 1992, and how the field needed to move from system to science. It is interesting to look at this article from a historical perspective, to see what the ancient GIS masters thought of their discipline. Goodchild expresses some frustration that his discipline is criticized as being too technology driven. Yet he himself says that we tend to treat GIS displays as flat, instead of exploiting their potential to display curved surfaces. He says that we need new technologies that can better display curved surfaces and 3d modelling. Today we have Google Earth Pro, which is now free to use for all, and many other paid 3d modelling GIS. Yet for the most part GIS continues to be worked on in either raster or vector on a virtual flat surface. Why? Because it works, not everything has to be modelled in 3d, just like directions to the grocery story don’t have to be a shortest path overlaid on 5x5m resolution satellite imagery. Goodchild states that the greatest advances in GIS research have been where technology itself stood in the way of solutions. He proposes turning the focus away from the tech towards the science but is coincidentally interested in advancing the technology. Well then perhaps GIS was slow to adopt 3d modelling and curved projections because they didn’t actually help solve GIScience.


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