On Kwan & Lee (2004) and the 3D visualization of space-time activity

This article was super interesting, as I find the topic of temporal GIS something that’s increasingly pressing in this day and age (and still challenging from the early 2000s).

The visualizations were really interesting, and it seems like they provided way more information faster than just analyzing the 2D movement (no time) would provide. Also, I thought it was incredible that the space-time aquarium (discussed as a prism based on the paths identified by Swedish sociologists) was only conceptualized (or written down, I guess) in 1970 and then realized in the late 1990s with GIS (and also better graphical interfaces of computers).

I thought it was interesting that Kwan & Lee mentioned that this was specifically used for vector data, so it would be interesting to find out more about the limitations of raster data (or perhaps, advances in temporal raster data analysis since 2004?) and the interoperability of raster and vector data. Further, the inclusion and acknowledgement of the lack of qualitative data was appreciated as well, as it provided a bit of a benchmark in the critical GIS history of the issues of qualitative data in something so quantitative. It seems like maybe this could have changed (or have become easier to visualize) in the last 13 years, so I’m looking forward to learning more about this. It would be cool to use this “aquarium” idea to click on individual lines and read a story/oral map of this person’s day, although that raises serious security concerns as the information (likely) describes day-to-day activities even if their name is not included publicly. Further, does the introduction of VR change this temporal GIS model? It would be super bizarre and super creepy (albeit more humanizing, maybe?) to do a VR walkthrough of somebody’s everyday life (although, we probably could get there with all the geo-info collected on us all the time with social media/smartphones!).

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