Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Spatial Thinking and Cognition II: Geography, Cognition, and Learning

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Tower Court B, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Organizers: Jeffrey Hamerlinck, Paddington Hodza
Chairs: Jeffrey Hamerlinck

Call for Submissions

We invite paper presentations exploring transdisciplinary synergies linking the geography and psychology domains in advancing knowledge on spatial thinking, cognition and learning, to be included in a series of sessions at the 2018 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado from April 6 – 10.

Potential topics may include, though are not limited to:

• Spatial thinking in geography curricular
• Teaching and learning strategies for spatial thinking
• Enabling geospatial technologies for spatial thinking
• Spatial thinking in real and virtual environments
• Neuroscience and spatial thinking
• Conceptual frameworks of spatial thinking
• Measures and methods for assessing spatial thinking
• Challenges and opportunities of teaching and learning about spatial thinking in GIS&T courses
• Frontiers in spatial thinking

To be considered:
1. Register and submit your abstract online following the AAG Guidelines. (Current deadline is October 30, 2019.)
2. Email your presenter identification number (PIN), paper title, and abstract to Jeff Hamerlinck ( or Paddington Hodza ( by November 8, 2019.


Spatial thinking links particular forms of knowledge with cognitive operations that can manipulate that knowledge. It involves an integrated understanding of concepts of space, forms and uses of tools of representation, and the use of processes of reasoning (NRC 2006). Spatial thinking is not only fundamental to learning and practicing geography, but also plays a significant role in the learning and problem-solving practices of a wide range of other disciplines, particularly within the STEM domain. General concepts of spatial thinking are tailored to the specific phenomena of study in a particular domain of knowledge. A long history of intellectual achievement exists in geography which is based on spatial thinking, including the theories of continental drift and central place. Advances in cartography related to spatial thinking have emerged through innovative technologies associated with geographic information science. In comparison, spatial thinking in the psychology domain has been investigating relative to numerous other concepts in the field, from spatial ability and spatial skill, to spatial intelligence and literacy, and spatial perception and cognition. Psychological research approaches spatial thinking in various ways, including a focus on characteristics of underlying cognitive processes, the development of spatial thinking over the life span, and the nature and impacts of individual differences in spatial thinking (Downs 2017).

Committee on Support for Thinking Spatially. 2006. Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

Downs, R.M. 2017. Spatial thinking, cognition, and learning. The International Encyclopedia of Geography, edited by D. Richardson, N. Castree, M.F. Goodchild, A. Kobayashi, W. Liu, and R.A. Marston. New York: John Wiley and Sons.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Alycia Hund*, , Implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Elementary Classrooms: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned 15 3:20 PM
Presenter Bob Kolvoord*, James Madison University, Emily Grossnickle Peterson, American University, David Uttal, Northwestern University, Adam Green, Georgetown University, How Does Extended GIS Use Impact Spatial Thinking? 15 3:35 PM
Presenter Martin Swobodzinski*, Portland State University, Amy Parker, Portland State University, Mediating seamless navigation by individuals with functional disability through mobile technology 15 3:50 PM
Presenter Aaron Adams*, University of Connecticut, Michael N. DeMers, New Mexico State University , Daniel P. Dugas, New Mexico State University , Kenneth G. Boykin, New Mexico State University , A Comparative Usability Assessment of Augmented Reality 3-D Printed Terrain Models and 2-D Topographic Maps 15 4:05 PM

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