Foundational Concepts

The foundational concepts are the elementary building blocks and context setting constraints of all other entries in the BoK. The latter encompass the philosophical and mathematical support for GIScience as well as data models, while the constituent elements include, among others, notions of scale, spatial data quality, and openness. This knowledge area is also the place to look for the origins and future of GIScience.

Topics in this Knowledge Area are listed thematically below. Existing topics are in regular font and linked directly to their original entries (published in 2006; these contain only Learning Objective). Entries that have been expanded and revised are in bold. Forthcoming, future topics are italicized

Philosophical Basic Measures Social  
Metaphysics and Ontology Distance, Length, and Direction Primary and Secondary Data Sources  
Epistemology Shape Organizational Models for GIS Management  
Philosophical Perspectives Area and Region Organizational models for coordinating GISs and/or program participants and stakeholders  
Cognitive Proximity & Distance Decay  Openness  
Perceptions and Cognition of Geographic Phenomena Adjacency and Connectivity Origins  
From Concepts to Data Resolution Public Sector Origins  
Place and Landscape Geometric Primitives Private Sector Origins  
The Power of Maps Spatial Autocorrelation Academic Origins  
Learning from Experience Interrogating Geographic Information    
Domains of Geographic Information Set Theory    
Space Structured Query Language (SQL) and Attribute Queries    
Time Spatial Queries    
Relationships between Space and Time Uncertainty    
Properties Error    
Networks Defined Problems of Scale and Zoning    
Scale and Generalization Thematic Accuracy    
Events and Processes Definitions within a Conceptual Model of Uncertainty    


FC-13 - Spatial queries
  • Demonstrate the syntactic structure of spatial and temporal operators in SQL
  • State questions that can be solved by selecting features based on location or spatial relationships
  • Construct a query statement to search for a specific spatial or temporal relationship
  • Construct a spatial query to extract all point objects that fall within a polygon
  • Compare and contrast attribute query and spatial query
FC-12 - Structured Query Language (SQL) and attribute queries
  • Define basic terms of query processing (e.g., SQL, primary and foreign keys, table join)
  • Create an SQL query to retrieve elements from a GIS
  • Explain the basic logic of SQL syntax
  • Demonstrate the basic syntactic structure of SQL
FC-20 - The power of maps
  • Describe how maps such as topographic maps are produced within certain relations of power and knowledge
  • Discuss how the choices used in the design of a road map will influence the experience visitors may have of the area
  • Explain how legal issues impact the design and content of such special purpose maps as subdivision plans, nautical charts, and cadastral maps
  • Exemplify maps that illustrate the provocative, propagandistic, political, and persuasive nature of maps and geospatial data
  • Demonstrate how different methods of data classification for a single dataset can produce maps that will be interpreted very differently by the user
  • Deconstruct the silences (feature omissions) on a map of a personally well known area
  • Construct two maps about a conflict or war producing one supportive of each side’s viewpoint
FC-27 - Thematic accuracy
  • Explain the distinction between thematic accuracy, geometric accuracy, and topological fidelity
  • Outline the SDTS and ISO TC211 standards for thematic accuracy
  • Discuss how measures of spatial autocorrelation may be used to evaluate thematic accuracy
  • Describe the component measures and the utility of a misclassification matrix
  • Describe the different measurement levels on which thematic accuracy is based
FC-08 - Time
  • Differentiate between mathematical and phenomenological theories of the nature of time
  • Recognize the role that time plays in “static” GISystems
  • Compare and contrast models of a given spatial process using continuous and discrete perspectives of time
  • Select the temporal elements of geographic phenomena that need to be represented in particular GIS applications
  • Exemplify different temporal frames of reference: linear and cyclical, absolute and relative