CyberGIS: A synthetic review and Integration Roadmap (Wang et al. 2013)

This paper was a challenging read as it focused on areas of GIS I had limited to no knowledge on. CyberGIS seems like a very ambitious field in its aims to incorporate all these tools of GIS into one convenient package. One of the issues I have with this however, is the feeling of possibly being overwhelmed for people new to GIS, as even after thinking I knew enough about GIS felt stressed going over all these separate tools and software packages, and could not imagine my first glimpse at GIS having all of these in one package. I personally appreciate that different fields of GIS (i.e. visualization and analysis) can be achieved in different specialist software packages/libraries, and that if the need arises you may undertake the task of mashing them up.

I feel the largest advantage of CyberGIS is acheived through its Cyber Infrastructure, which would in some ways reduce the digital divide, allowing those without large funds to run programs that would otherwise require very expensive hardware. The use of CIM to reduce time taken in computer processes is also very interesting, and find this a key addition to GIS, especially for very long raster processes. In addition to this, CyberGIS seems to really push its ‘Openness’, which I am a large fan of, though find it interesting that they’ve partnered with ESRI in this project, and wonder how ‘open’ this project can really be. Will there only be certain free APIs followed by Pay-To-Use API keys in sort of freemium software? I hope not, though it will be interesting to see.

All in all, I feel CyberGIS is inevitable for its large interest from academic circles like the NSF (which┬áis brought up very often) as well as the need to standardize the plethora of file formats and GIS softwares out there. However, I still feel that CyberGIS does not bring all too much to the table for GI-Science’s advancement as it simply gathers existing materials into one area (which actually seems to take a tremendous amount of work such as rewriting GeoDa into a compatible format), and does get substantial funding even in its early stages.

-MercatorGator

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