The constellation of science and technology that is now considered a unit (Geographic Information Science and Technology – GIS&T) has emerged from many source disciplines through many divergent and convergent pasts in different times and places. This narrative limits itself to the perspective of the English-speaking community, leaving other regions for a separate chapter As in the case of many technical developments in the second half of the twentieth century, academic institutions played a key (though far from exclusive) role in innovation and risk-taking. In a number of locations, academic innovators tried out new technology for handling geographic information, beginning as early as the 1960s. Three institutions (University of Washington, Laboratory for Computer Graphics – Harvard University, and Experimental Cartography Unit – Royal College of Art (UK)) deserve particular treatment as examples of the early innovation process. Their innovations may look crude by current standards, but they laid some groundwork for later developments. Academic institutions played a key role in innovation over the past decades, but the positioning of that role has shifted as first government, then commercial sectors have taken the lead in certain aspects of GIS&T. Current pressures on the academic sector may act to reduce this role.
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 Objectives). Entries that have been expanded and revised are in bold. Forthcoming, future topics are italicized.
|Intro to the GIS&T Body of Knowledge||Distance, Length, and Direction|
|Public Sector Origins||Shape|
|Private Sector Origins||Area and Region|
|Academic Developments of GIS&T||Proximity & Distance Decay|
|Cognitive||Adjacency and Connectivity|
|Perceptions and Cognition of Geographic Phenomena||Resolution|
|Foundational Ontologies||Geometric Primitives and Algorithms|
|Ontologies for Analysis & Formation of Geospatial Concepts||Spatial Autocorrelation|
|Place and Landscape||Interrogating Geographic Information|
|The Power of Maps and Mapping||Set Theory|
|Semantic Information Elicitation||Structured Query Language (SQL) and Attribute Queries|
|Domains of Geographic Information||Spatial Queries|
|Relationships between Space and Time||Conceptual Models of Error and Uncertainty|
|Properties||Problems of Scale and Zoning|
|Networks Defined||Thematic Accuracy and Assessment|
|Events and Processes|