Twenty Years of Progress: GIScience in 2010

Goodchild (2010) provides an overview on geographic information science (GIScience) and its development as a discipline in the past twenty years (1990-2010). He then opens up discourse on how GIScience can be improved and applied in the future. What I was most interested in was not necessarily GIScience’s accomplishments as a discipline, but rather how its theorizing elements can be applied and improved for the future, especially with technology constantly changing. For instance, Goodchild questions how GIScience will handle large quantities of data that are being produced from new devices. He additionally questions how security will be managed. I admire Goodchild’s ability to raise unanswered questions because it shows that there are still many issues in GIS that need to be addressed. His discourse on the “role of the citizen” also spiked my interest because I would like to research how local people in underdeveloped countries/cities can contribute data (13-14).

What I think is unique about modern GIScience is its ability to mix with other disciplines (i.e. “geography, computer science, or information science”); however, contrary to what Goodchild states, I believe it is this reason that GIScience is not “well-defined” (16). Since it crosses over many disciplinary boundaries it is hard to establish itself as its own entity. I do not doubt the importance of GIScience, but it is still not that well known because, in my own opinion, spatial awareness is not a distinct enough feature to separate itself from other disciplines. It is especially hard to maintain a solid definition of GIScience because of how much it is evolving with technological advancements. For these reasons, I see GIScience being complementary to other larger disciplinary fields (just like how GIS tool applications can be used to help support research).



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