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FC-02 - Epistemology

Epistemology is the lens through which we view reality. Different epistemologies interpret the earth and patterns on its surface differently. In effect, epistemology is a belief system about the nature of reality that, in turn, structures our interpretation of the world. Common epistemologies in GIScience include (but are not limited by) positivism and realism. However, many researchers are in effect pragmatists in that they choose the filter that best supports their work and a priori hypotheses. Different epistemologies – or ways of knowing and studying geography – result in different ontologies or classification systems. By understanding the role of epistemology, we can better understand different ways of representing the same phenomena.

FC-25 - Error
  • Compare and contrast how systematic errors and random errors affect measurement of distance
  • Describe the causes of at least five different types of errors (e.g., positional, attribute, temporal, logical inconsistency, and incompleteness)
DM-32 - Error-based uncertainty
  • Define uncertainty-related terms, such as error, accuracy, uncertainty, precision, stochastic, probabilistic, deterministic, and random
  • Recognize expressions of uncertainty in language
  • Evaluate the causes of uncertainty in geospatial data
  • Describe a stochastic error model for a natural phenomenon
  • Explain how the familiar concepts of geographic objects and fields affect the conceptualization of uncertainty
  • Recognize the degree to which the importance of uncertainty depends on scale and application
  • Differentiate uncertainty in geospatial situations from vagueness
CP-26 - eScience, the Evolution of Science

Science—and research more broadly—face many challenges as its practitioners struggle to accommodate new challenges around reproducibility and openness.  The current practice of science limits access to knowledge, information and infrastructure, which in turn leads to inefficiencies, frustrations and a lack of rigor.  Many useful research outcomes are never used because they are too difficult to find, or to access, or to understand.

New computational methods and infrastructure provide opportunities to reconceptualize how science is conducted, how it is shared, how it is evaluated and how it is reused.  And new data sources changed what can be known, and how well, and how frequently.  This article describes some of the major themes of eScience/eResearch aimed at improving the process of doing science.

FC-36 - Events and Processes
  • Compare and contrast the concepts of continuants (entities) and occurrents (events)
  • Describe the “actor” role that entities and fields play in events and processes
  • Discuss the difficulty of integrating process models into GIS software based on the entity and field views, and methods used to do so
  • Apply or develop formal systems for describing continuous spatio-temporal processes
  • Evaluate the assertion that “events and processes are the same thing, but viewed at different temporal scales”
  • Describe particular events or processes in terms of identity, categories, attributes, and locations
  • Compare and contrast the concepts of event and process
DM-69 - Exchange specifications
  • Describe the characteristics of the Geography Markup Language (GML)
  • Explain the purpose, history, and status of the Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS)
  • Identify different levels of information integration
  • Identify the level of integration at which the Geography Markup Language (GML) operates
  • Describe the geospatial elements of Earth science data exchange specifications, such as the Ecological Metadata Language (EML), Earth Science Markup Language (ESML), and Climate Science Modeling Language (CSML)
  • Import data packaged in a standard transfer format to a GIS software package
  • Export data from a GIS program to a standard exchange format
AM-19 - Exploratory data analysis (EDA)
  • Describe the statistical characteristics of a set of spatial data using a variety of graphs and plots (including scatterplots, histograms, boxplots, q–q plots)
  • Select the appropriate statistical methods for the analysis of given spatial datasets by first exploring them using graphic methods
DM-05 - Extensions of the relational model
  • Explain why early attempts to store geographic data in standard relational tables failed
  • Evaluate the adequacy of contemporary proprietary database schemes to manage geospatial data
  • Describe standards efforts relating to relational extensions, such as SQL:1999 and SQL-MM
  • Evaluate the degree to which an available object-relational database management system approximates a true object-oriented paradigm
  • Describe extensions of the relational model designed to represent geospatial and other semistructured data, such as stored procedures, Binary Large Objects (BLOBs), nested tables, abstract data types, and spatial data types
DC-22 - Federal agencies and national and international organizations and programs
  • Describe the data programs provided by organizations such as The National Map, GeoSpatial One Stop, and National Integrated Land System
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of international organizations such as Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE) and the European GIS Education Seminar (EUGISES)
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of governmental entities such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as they related to support of professionals and organizations
  • involved in GIS&T
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of GeoSpatial One Stop
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), Inc.
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of the Nation Integrated Land System (NILS)
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of the National Academies of Science Mapping Science Committee
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of the USGS and its National Map vision
  • Discuss the mission, history, constituencies, and activities of University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA)
  • Discuss the political, cultural, economic, and geographic characteristics of various countries that influence their adoption and use of GIS&T
  • Identify National Science Foundation (NSF) programs that support GIS&T research and education
  • Outline the principle concepts and goals of the “digital earth” vision articulated in 1998 by Vice President Al Gore
  • Assess the current status of Gore’s “digital earth”
GS-15 - Feminist Critiques of GIS

Feminist interactions with GIS started in the 1990s in the form of strong critiques against GIS inspired by feminist and postpositivist theories. Those critiques mainly highlighted a supposed epistemological dissonance between GIS and feminist scholarship. GIS was accused of being shaped by positivist and masculinist epistemologies, especially due to its emphasis on vision as the principal way of knowing. In addition, feminist critiques claimed that GIS was largely incompatible with positionality and reflexivity, two core concepts of feminist theory. Feminist critiques of GIS also discussed power issues embedded in GIS practices, including the predominance of men in the early days of the GIS industry and the development of GIS practices for the military and surveillance purposes.

At the beginning of the 21st century, feminist geographers reexamined those critiques and argued against an inherent epistemological incompatibility between GIS methods and feminist scholarship. They advocated for a reappropriation of GIS by feminist scholars in the form of critical feminist GIS practices. The critical GIS perspective promotes an unorthodox, reconstructed, and emancipatory set of GIS practices by critiquing dominant approaches of knowledge production, implementing GIS in critically informed progressive social research, and developing postpositivist techniques of GIS. Inspired by those debates, feminist scholars did reclaim GIS and effectively developed feminist GIS practices.

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