Core Concepts of Spatial Information (Kuhn, 2012)

In the paper “core concepts of spatial information for transdisciplinary research”, Kuhn(2012) demonstrates the importance of spatial information across disciplines and proposes ten core concepts for non-specialists to understand it. When reading it, we should question about whether Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) have to be transdisciplinary, and whether these ten core concepts are helpful for those kinds of research.

According to Kuhn(2012), spatial notions are the basis of transdisciplinary approaches. The example of the Amazon deforestation proves his statements which I agree with. In other words, we can regard spatial information as integrators to connect different disciplines. However, I would doubt that the ten core concepts are useful enough for people outside of GIS.

Non-specialists need to understand and apply these concepts in their practices. Therefore, the chosen concepts should appropriate for their use. Hence, I’m interested in the objects of the survey conducted by the author. Whom or what projects it refers to? What disciplines are involved? Does the information mainly provided by GIS-related practitioners or researchers? Answering these questions may help us know how useful the concepts could be for non-specialists. Besides, some of the descriptions of concepts are straightforward enough, while some are confused. For non-specialists, the isolate description of “field”, “object”, “meaning” or “value” is not able to make them well-understood. For example, “neighborhood” can be thought as a region, “field” also. “Field” can answer what is here, “object” also. “Meaning” and “value” sometimes may refer to the same thing. Non-specialists still have few concept of these “core concepts”. Unless, there is more discussion about the relationships among core concepts, the situation may be improved. That said, it is necessary to organize these core concepts so that they can be understood accurately. In conclusion, Kuhn notes that core concepts should be formalized into an ontology when use, but it remains to be asked whether we can have them more structured in ahead of the practice.

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