Geographic Information Science- Goodchild (1992)

Goodchild’s (1992) article is centered on the fear that unless GIS makes the transition from being considered a system to a science, it will soon fade away as another technological fad.  One of Goodchild’s main concerns at the time was that GIS, though inherently useful, was restrained by its problematic integration into other fields (i.e. spatial analysis).  He attributed this to a focus on data management rather than analysis—a result of the lack of motivation to develop the necessary technology due to the “lucrative” yet “unsophisticated” needs of GIS in the commercial world (1992:38)—and also to the sheer obscurity of spatial analysis as a technique.  Currently, spatial analysis functions as an extension of ArcMap and is fundamentally a part of GIS as I know it.

Though Goodchild’s article was riddled with unanswered questions (at the time) I think he played an integral role in developing the case for GIScience by highlighting how multidisciplinary the field really is.  For example we look at spatial analytics, and with the wisdom of the future I believe this specifically was an important point to broach.  Bearing in mind that this system vs. science debate is still ongoing, I think the development of a concrete tie to analytics was beneficial for those making the case for GIS as a science.  Goodchild, an avid member of the academic community, recognizes academia’s requirement of a certain level of ‘rigor’ for a field to be considered a science and spatial analytics, now at the heart of GIS, absolutely brings this edge.




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