Posts Tagged ‘fuzzy footprint’

Coarse grained data issues low resource settings

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Despite Goodchild et al.’s (1998) article’s technical components, the article did make me think of uncertainty regarding boundaries and course grained satellite imagery. Exploring low resource settings on Google Earth is one such example. Although an incomplete geolibrary, I consider Google Earth to be effective in its user friendly interface and features (layers and photographs), and of course, ubiquity. It’s a start. With this in mind, ‘flying’ over towns in Colombia on Google Earth, and the terrible, terrible satellite imagery that was available. (The low quality imagery remains unchanged since the last time I checked it half a year ago). One of the towns/districts is Puerto Gaitan. How do we account for the lack of resources given to collecting fine grained even medium grained visualizations?

According to Goodchild et al., alternative methods for displaying fuzzy regions must be applied where cartographic techniques are not enough. “A dashed region boundary would be easy to draw, but it would not communicate the amount of positional uncertainty or anything about the form of the z(X) surface” (208). What do we do then, when the data cannot even be analyzed because it is too coarse? For low resource settings, we are just going back to where we started. No financial incentives to improve data (from coarse to fine) = continuation of coarse grained data = poor visualization = cannot be utilized in studies = no advancements in research are made = back to the start, no financial incentives to improve the quality of data. How do we break this cycle?

-henry miller

A Tangent from Fuzzy Footprints…

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Goodchild’s (somewhat uncoordinated) introduction to Fuzzy Footprints got me thinking, once again, back to ontologies–as has been mentioned by many others posting not only on this topic, but on many topics we have covered in class this semester.  So it brought me back to another question asked in class, again with regards to multiple topics: how important is geo-education?  And so here I would argue: VERY important.

Uncertainty can be largely down to our ability (or lack thereof) to communicate, and to understand what has been communicated by others.  Boundaries, locations, and our ability to define them are essential to geolibraries.  If we cannot come to general understandings, there will constantly be error.  Before in class I was not convinced that education (about scale, particularly, but about various geographic phenomena) should be made explicit (outside of a geography class).  Now, I believe otherwise–how could I not after repeating topic after topic that ontologies (and thus understanding) is important?

To create a global database of georeferenced information is a magnificent endeavour.  To create a global database of georeferenced information that can be efficiently searched by any member of the global community is a whole new ballgame, and must necessarily involve a renewed goal of educating the public and of coming to shared understandings (both on areas of agreement and disagreement).