Marceau – 1999 – Scale Issue

Marceau’s article provides a look at how geographers and other social scientists use and understand relative and absolute spatial scale. For geographers, scale may be a more well understood concept compared to others, but that does not necessarily mean that scale is more important to a geographer’s work than to an engineer for example. Scale is crucial in understanding how process and effects occur differently on different scales – the project needs to take scale into consideration to effectively its issues by tailoring the work to a certain extent. In the case of a study on geosurveillance & privacy, scale is important to understand the area you are evaluating to ensure that all areas within the extent are relevant.

The article highlights well the issues that should be considered in terms of spatial scale, however it frames them all as ‘issues’ or ‘problems’. I would’ve like to see the author comment on why these seem to be inherently bad things. As far as I’m concerned these concepts are good things; they allow us to better understand the space we are working in while providing a level of focus to projects. Although they are hurdles to deal with; if dealt with properly, it may ensure that the results minimize the uncertainties and redundancies that would otherwise occur.

The article is 18 years old but the concepts of scale are just as important to consider today even with the web 2.0 platform. If anything, it has become more important to deal with these issues since the variety of data has increased through big data and may result in MAUP issues.

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