A Human-Centered GIScience Framework and Its Theoretical and Technical Implications

Authors: Shih-Lung Shaw*, University of Tennessee
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Applied Geography
Keywords: human dynamics, space-place, splatial, GIScience framework
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Conventional geographic information systems (GIS) have been built on the concept of Newtonian absolute space that assumes an immovable empty space filled with various objects. This absolute space approach is conceptually constrained for human dynamics research due to its confinement to absolute space and physical place. As human activities and interactions are increasingly taking place in a hybrid physical-virtual world enabled by modern information and communication technologies, there is an urgent need of developing human-centered geographic information science (GIScience) that goes beyond the concept of absolute space. A Space-Place (Splatial) GIScience framework, which integrates the concepts of absolute space, relative space, relational space, and mental space as well as the concepts of location, locale, place identity, and sense of place, has been proposed to overcome the limitations of conventional GIS (Shaw and Sui, 2019, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1631145). This Splatial GIScience framework offers new possibilities for GIScience to become more intuitive and useful to studying and understanding human dynamics in the modern world. In the meantime, this new GIScience framework requires research of revisiting the theories, data models, and methods used in conventional GIS to accommodate the additional concepts of space and place for human dynamics research. This presentation discusses potential approaches of addressing the relative space, relational space, and mental space to support studies of human activities and interactions in a hybrid physical-virtual world in addition to the absolute space concept adopted in conventional GIS.

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