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CP-15 - Mobile Devices

Mobile devices refer to a computing system intended to be used by hand, such as smartphones or tablet computers. Mobile devices more broadly refer to mobile sensors and other hardware that has been made for relatively easy transportability, including wearable fitness trackers. Mobile devices are particularly relevant to Geographic Information Systems and Technology (GIS&T) in that they house multiple locational sensors that were until recently very expensive and only accessible to highly trained professionals. Now, mobile devices serve an important role in computing platform infrastructure and are key tools for collecting information and disseminating information to, from, and among heterogeneous and spatially dispersed audiences and devices. Due to the miniaturization and the decrease in the cost of computing capabilities, there has been widespread social uptake of mobile devices, making them ubiquitous. Mobile devices are embedded in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) meaning GIScience is increasingly permeating lived experiences and influencing social norms through the use of mobile devices. In this entry, locational sensors are described, with computational considerations specifically for mobile computing. Mobile app development is described in terms of key considerations for native versus cross-platform development. Finally, mobile devices are contextualized within computational infrastructure, addressing backend and frontend considerations.

CP-14 - Web GIS

Web GIS allows the sharing of GIS data, maps, and spatial processing across private and public computer networks. Understanding web GIS requires learning the roles of client and server machines and the standards and protocols around how they communicate to accomplish tasks. Cloud computing models have allowed web-based GIS operations to be scaled out to handle large jobs, while also enabling the marketing of services on a per-transaction basis.

A variety of toolkits allow the development of GIS-related websites and mobile apps. Some web GIS implementations bring together map layers and GIS services from multiple locations. In web environments, performance and security are two concerns that require heightened attention. App users expect speed, achievable through caching, indexing, and other techniques. Security precautions are necessary to ensure sensitive data is only revealed to authorized viewers.

Many organizations have embraced the web as a way to openly share spatial data at a relatively low cost. Also, the web-enabled expansion of spatial data production by nonexperts (sometimes known as “neogeography”) offers a rich field for alternative mappings and critical study of GIS and society.

CP-32 - On the Origins of Computing and GIST: Part 2, A Perspective on the Role of Peripheral Devices

GIS implementations in the late-1960s to mid-1980s required the use of exotic peripheral devices to encode and display geospatial information. Data encoding was normally performed in one of two modes: automated raster scanning and manual (vector) coordinate recording. Raster scanning systems in this era were extremely expensive, operated in batch mode, and were located at a limited number of centralized facilities, such as federal mapping agencies. Coordinate digitizers were more widely distributed and were often configured with dedicated minicomputers to handle editing and formatting tasks. Data display devices produced hardcopy and softcopy output. Two commonly encountered hardcopy devices were line printers and pen plotters. Softcopy display consisted of cathode ray tube devices that operated using frame buffer and storage tube technologies. Each device was driven by specialized software provided by device manufacturers, leading to widespread hardware-software incompatibly. This problem led to the emergence of device independence to promote increased levels of interoperability among disparate input and output devices.

CP-16 - On the Origins of Computing and GIS&T: Part I, A Computer Systems Perspective

This paper describes the evolutionary path of hardware systems and the hardware-software interfaces that were used for GIS&T development during its “childhood”, the era from approximately the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.  The article is structured using a conceptualization that developments occurred during this period in three overlapping epochs that have distinctive modes of interactivity and user control: mainframes, minicomputers and workstations.  The earliest GIS&T applications were developed using expensive mainframe computer systems, usually manufactured by IBM. These mainframes typically had memory measured in kilobytes and operated in batch mode with jobs submitted using punched cards as input.  Many such systems used an obscure job control language with a rigid syntax. FORTRAN was the predominant language used for GIS&T software development. Technological developments, and associated cost reductions, led to the diffusion of minicomputers and a shift away from IBM. Further developments led to the widespread adoption of single user workstations that initially used commodity processors and later switched to reduced instruction set chips. Many minicomputers and workstations ran some variant of the UNIX operating system, which substantially improved user interactivity.

CP-29 - Enterprise GIS

Enterprise GIS is the implementation of GIS infrastructure, processes and tools at scale within the context of an organization, shaped by the prevailing information technology patterns of the day. It can be framed as an infrastructure enabling a set of capabilities, and a process for establishing and maintaining that infrastructure. Enterprise GIS facilitates the storage, sharing and dissemination of geospatial information products (data, maps, apps) within an organization and beyond. Enterprise GIS is integrated into, and shaped by the business processes, culture and context of an organization. Enterprise GIS implementations require general-purpose IT knowledge in the areas of performance tuning, information security, maintenance, interoperability, and data governance. The specific enabling technologies of Enterprise GIS will change with time, but currently the prevailing pattern is a multi-tiered services-oriented architecture supporting delivery of GIS capabilities on the web, democratizing access to and use of geospatial information products.

CP-21 - Social Networks

This entry introduces the concept of a social network (SN), its components, and how to weight those components. It also describes some spatial properties of SNs, and how to embed SNs into GIS. SNs are graph structures that consists of nodes and edges that traditionally exist in Sociology and are newer to GIScience. Nodes typically represent individual entities such as people or institutions, and edges represent interpersonal relationships, connections or ties. Many different mathematical metrics exist to characterize nodes, edges and the larger network. When geolocated, SNs are part of a class of spatial networks, more specifically, geographic networks (i.e. road networks, hydrological networks), that require special treatment because edges are non-planar, that is, they do not follow infrastructure or form a vector on the earth’s surface. Future research in this area is likely to take advantage of 21st Century datasets sourced from social media, GPS, wireless signals, and online interactions that each evidence geolocated personal relationships.