Geospatial Agents, Agents Everywhere… Sengupta and Sieber (2007)

I thought this review was an interesting contrast to the discourse presented in the Wright et al. (1997) article on GIS as a tool or science. There seems to have been a transition from GIScience arguing for its own existence to asserting its domain over established concepts.

At first, I was a little skeptical of the unique “geospatial” designation for agents used in GIScience. I was easily persuaded of the commonalities between the properties of intelligent agents described in AI research and those applied in GIScience. Perhaps too easily persuaded. I struggled with how geospatial agents could be distinguished from other intelligent agents–particular those that don’t explicitly operate in geographic space. The element of geographic space is more evident in the case of artificial life geospatial agents, but at a glance, a software geospatial agent used to locate and retrieve spatial data from the Internet might resemble any other intelligent agent used to scrape non-spatial data. Of course, handling any spatial information requires some understanding of topology, scale, spatial data structures, etc. that is inherent to GIScience. In fact, I would imagine many intelligent agents implemented outside the domain of GIScience could benefit from the nuance that GIScience is able to offer.

I’m convinced! Geospatial agents most definitely necessitate their own designation. Again I’m reminded of the plight of the neogeographer. The article demonstrates a clear need for GIScience considerations in what are sometimes careless applications of geospatial information in technology.

Comments are closed.