GIScience Beyond Absolute Space: A Space-Place (Splatial) GIScience Framework

Authors: Shih-Lung Shaw*, University of Tennessee
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Geographic Theory, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: human dynamics, absolute space, relative space, relational space, mental space
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The author of this presentation proposed a multi-space GIScience framework for human dynamics research (Shaw and Sui, 2018, Transactions in GIS, 22:891-899, DOI: 10.1111/tgis.12474). Conventional geographic information systems (GIS) have been built on the concept of absolute Newtonian space, which assumes an immovable empty space that is filled with various objects. This absolute space approach is useful to represent, analyze and visualize many phenomena in the real world; however, it is insufficient to dealing with human dynamics especially in the modern world. We need a theoretical framework of geographic information science (GIScience) to include the concepts of relative space, relational space, and mental space in addition to the concept of absolute space to fully support human dynamics research that involves human activities and interactions in both physical and virtual spaces. This presentation further extends the multi-space GIScience framework to connect various concepts of place with the four different types of space for a Space-Place (Splatial) GIScience framework in support of human dynamics research. Potentials and challenges of moving from the conventional GIS framework to the Splatial GIScience framework are discussed. It is important to note that the field of geography never limits its view to the concept of absolute space only. With the proposed Splatial GIScience framework, it can open new possibilities for GIScience and make GIScience more useful and relevant to many environmental and societal challenges we are facing in the modern world.

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