Twenty Years of Progress: GIScience in 2010

In his article, Twenty Years of Progress: GIScience in 2010, Matthew Goodchild exposes the value of perceiving GIS as a science rather than a tool. GIS as a science is important because it has systematically enhanced our understanding of abstraction and theory, topological concepts, and ontologies. These insights are invaluable because they allow us to expand our capacity to discover the world around us. In addition, the limitations of GIS as a science expose flaws in existing epistemologies and gives the opportunity to develop future theories relating to various domains of research. For instance, GIScience’s emphasis on the topic of modeling error and uncertainty is of utmost importance for valid scientific method concerning spatial representation.

I was interested in Goodchild’s commentary about the role of the citizen in the future of GIScience. The emergence of the Web 2.0 and the public’s role as producer and consumer of spatial data is especially relevant to today’s generation. Discussions about the role of the citizen in GIScience brings to the forefront issues related to privacy and motivations for individuals to participate. The shift of how spatial data is handled nowadays sheds light on the future evolution of the technological and social systems we consume today.


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