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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.

DA-31 - GIS&T and Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) are an important part of the GIS&T ecosystem and they engage in numerous activities that are critical for students, researchers, and practitioners. Traditionally these organizations have been at the forefront of developing infrastructures and services that connect researchers and others to historical and contemporary GIS data, including print maps. More recently, as a result of greater interest in spatial thinking and research, these organizations and institutions have become a place for instruction, outreach, and practice. This entry will discuss the historical role that LAMs have played in supporting and developing GIS&T as well as focus on current trends.

DC-29 - Volunteered Geographic Information

Volunteered geographic information (VGI) refers to geo-referenced data created by citizen volunteers. VGI has proliferated in recent years due to the advancement of technologies that enable the public to contribute geographic data. VGI is not only an innovative mechanism for geographic data production and sharing, but also may greatly influence GIScience and geography and its relationship to society. Despite the advantages of VGI, VGI data quality is under constant scrutiny as quality assessment is the basis for users to evaluate its fitness for using it in applications. Several general approaches have been proposed to assure VGI data quality but only a few methods have been developed to tackle VGI biases. Analytical methods that can accommodate the imperfect representativeness and biases in VGI are much needed for inferential use where the underlying phenomena of interest are inferred from a sample of VGI observations. VGI use for inference and modeling adds much value to VGI. Therefore, addressing the issue of representativeness and VGI biases is important to fulfill VGI’s potential. Privacy and security are also important issues. Although VGI has been used in many domains, more research is desirable to address the fundamental intellectual and scholarly needs that persist in the field.

GS-29 - GIS Participatory Modeling

Participatory research is increasingly used to better understand complex social-environmental problems and design solutions through diverse and inclusive stakeholder engagement. A growing number of approaches are helping to foster co-production of knowledge among diverse stakeholders. However, most methods don’t allow stakeholders to directly interact with the models that often drive environmental decision-making. Geospatial participatory modeling (GPM) is an approach that engages stakeholders in co-development and interpretation of models through dynamic geovisualization and simulations. GPM can be used to represent dynamic landscape processes and spatially explicit management scenarios, such as land use change or climate adaptation, enhancing opportunities for co-learning. GPM can provide multiple benefits over non-spatial approaches for participatory research processes, by (a) personalizing connections to problems and their solutions, (b) resolving abstract notions of connectivity, and (c) clarifying the scales of drivers, data, and decision-making authority. An adaptive, iterative process of model development, sharing, and revision can drive innovation of methods, improve model realism or applicability, and build capacity for stakeholders to leverage new knowledge gained from the process. This co-production of knowledge enables participants to more fully understand problems, evaluate the acceptability of trade-offs, and build buy-in for management actions in the places where they live and work.

GS-24 - Citizen Science with GIS&T

Figure 1. Participant in a BioBlitz records bird observation (Source: Jo Somerfield)


Citizen Science is defined as the participation of non-professional volunteers in scientific projects (Dickson et al, 2010) and has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. The projects that are emerging in this area range from contributory projects, co-created projects, collegiate projects, which are initiated and run by a group of people with shared interest, without any involvement of professional scientists.  

In many citizen science projects, GIS&T is enabling the collection, analysis, and visualisation of spatial data to affect decision-making. Some examples may include:

  • Recording the location of invasive species or participating in a BioBlitz to record local biodiversity (Figure 1).
  • Measuring air quality or noise over a large area and over time to monitor local conditions and address them
  • Using tools to educate on and increase access to local resources,  improving community resilience

Such projects have the opportunity to empower or disempower members of the public, depending upon access to and understanding of technology. Citizen Science projects using GIS&T may help communities influence decision makers and support the gathering of large-scale scientific evidence on a range of issues. This may also renew people’s interests in the sciences and foster continued and lifelong learning.