Twenty years of progress: GIScience in 2010

In “Twenty years of progress: GIScience in 2010” Michael Goodchild recognizes the 20th anniversary of the term “geographic information science” and aims to stimulate discussion on the advances, both past and future, of GIS. This piece definitely did engage my thoughts on the interdisciplinary aspects of the science and how it can struggle for an identity. My initial attraction to GIS and Geography was that it seemed to encompass so many different disciplines. While I understand the need to define GIScience as a unique field commanding respect from other scientific parties, it should not seek to define itself too rigidly. It is interesting to delve not just into the “what” of GIS but the “why” as the tools and capabilities become more complex. Goodchild could have expanded on the implication of GIS on social sciences and as an interesting “why” (we use GIS). I found myself wanting to know more about the shift from error to uncertainty and it’s coincidence with a shift in understanding of geographical conceptualization in a more globalized world.

This paper helped my understanding of how GIS could be a science to itself and what questions are still demanding answers. I enjoyed how Goodchild combined both technological advancement and areas lacking research at this time to pose thoughtful insights into the future of GIScience. Whatever the philosophical debate around GIS, there is no doubt that it has become a major player in the era of “big data” and is more in demand than ever before.


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