Modeling and simulating geographies in a digital world

GIScience, conceptualized as scientific activity conducted in a GIS environment, should not be exclusively data-driven, inductive, and theoretically naïve. There should be scope for speculation, experimentation, a plurality of theorisations; in short, GIScience should embrace imaginary or conceptual geographies. Such geographies are already well established features of the information society. A paradigmatic example is SimCity. But SimCity embodies only one (highly contestable) theoretical position and represents only one kind of simulation and one form of visualization.  Traditional views of GIS imbody a bookeeping approach to accounting for space and a deterministic, usually single-framework, view of aggregation, generalization, etc. in order to digest and interpret spatial data into forecasts and causal interpretations. As use of GIS is pushed into policy and planning levels - especially in arenas like city and regional planning with pluralistic views of structure, interaction, and importance - such a view is frustrating and difficult to incorporate. Can GIS technologies help identify robust frameworks, forecasts, etc.? What technology is needed to facilitate/moderate discussion. Juxtaposition, and visualization of differing conceptualizations of space. One direction involves drawing from research on the use of cellular automata simulations to help discover emergent form and robust micro-behavioral models. Another involves explicit attempts to visualize and/or address (a) stochastic elements of spatial movement, boundaries, and interactions and (b) differences in spatial conceptualizations. 



Workshop Home Page...