Thoughts on critical GIS

This article started by bring out two methods that are widely used in GIScience related researches: qualitative methods and quantitative methods. There is one sentence that I think is very interesting: “Geographers keep equating quantitative methods with advanced statistical and spatial analysis, and, therefore, scientific analysis and qualitative methods with ‘a mix of coffee room discourse, vendor sales hype, informal social interviews with one or two people, and an active imagination’”. Actually, this is very similar to what I think about these two methods as a geographer before reading this article. The part I exposed to GIScience are mostly quantitative, so I what I learned in my undergrad for GIScience techniques are very statistical and mathematical. This has made be quite confused for a while. But I think the authors’ idea that “the use of GIS requires a certain amount of specialized knowledge but this knowledge is different from the expertise in quantitative analysis” has solved my confusion.

So, I think there might be a blurry line between quantitative studies and GIScience, and the quantitative problem in GIScience researches all have a geographical context, which makes it special.

And then it is interesting that we are back to the question that whether GIS is a tool or a science. She has made several points in her article, and I thinks those ideas are very well illustrated and can be easily understood by people in the other fields.

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