Marceau’s Article

Marceau’s (1999) article highlights what scale is and how it affects traditional (authoritative) geospatial datasets. This article reminded me of our discussion in Lesley’s geocomplexity seminar because Lesley addressed the concerns about being too specific or too generalizing, and whether or not we can have both.

Marceau states research should explicitly state the variables, specifically “the role of scale in the detection of patterns and processes, the scale impact on modelling, the identification of scale thresholds, and the derivation of scaling laws” (12). Although I agree with this, certain VGI datasets do not host these explicit details because VGI data lacks metadata that can provide information on scale. With this in mind, I wonder how a “solid unified theoretical framework” to understand scale issues will be approached now that new heterogeneous spatial datasets are produced and used, which can be seen within VGI datasets (ibid.).

Moreover, the connection between larger and smaller scales (e.g. global and local scales) can be connected via VGI. Johnson and Sieber (2013) state that “VGI can cross spatial scales” (74). For example: citizens (the local level) can communicate with governments (the provincial or national level) through producing VGI that the government can use (75). Nevertheless, VGI introduces a unsolidified non-unified framework, which is different from existing expert (GIS) ways of seeing spatial scales that Marceau discusses in his article. As such, Marceau’s article does highlight scale issues that are worth considering; however, since this article was written prior to the Web 2.0 boom, the article does not consider how spatial extent and grain affect other (less authoritative) forms of spatial data. For instance: the word “near” may be conceptualized differently amongst different individuals; experts may consider “near” differently than non-experts. Since individuals have different conceptualization of what “near” means, then collected VGI will have different/individualized standards/opinions that are inputted.



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