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Space Skepticism, by Luc Anselin

When asked to write this column, the topic I suggested was “space skepticism.” Space skepticism is the attitude/position that an explicit spatial perspective does not contribute in a meaningful way to the knowledge discovery process. In this view, (still) shared by many in academia, GIS and spatial technologies may be useful tools, but spatial thinking is not considered to be fundamental to the scientific process itself. Of course, this perspective is not shared by the UCGIS membership, but then among ourselves, we tend to preach to the choir. So, why do I set a negative tone in this first column in the series?

I hasten to add that I do not want to draw too dark a picture. Important progress has been made in terms of the adoption of a spatial perspective in mainstream science, policy and curriculum over the past two decades. This coincides with the establishment of UCGIS a little over 20 years ago. We have indeed come a long way. My dissertation advisor at Cornell University (the late Walter Isard) initially characterized my topic (spatial econometrics) as a “red herring” (he later came around). And one of my first submissions to an economics journal got the response from the (single) referee “what is this spatial autocorrelation?” Today, GIS(T) is increasingly common in the curriculum from high school to vocational and traditional higher education. Spatial questions are addressed in the mainstream science and social science journals, and both spatial statistics and spatial econometrics have become accepted subfields in the discipline.

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new GIS&T Body of Knowledge website

The digital version of the Geographic Information Science & Technology Body of Knowledge (BoK) is now online at gistbok.ucgis.org! This dynamic, digital platform supports more innovative and applied uses of this knowledge. We have put in place a stable information architecture  combined with robust strategies for content management and curation.The Editorial Team invites subject matter experts with interests in writing or reviewing Topics to contact them.

Support the new AP GIS&T Course

 

AAG has developed a proposal for a new Advanced Placement course in Geographic Information Science and Technology (AP GIS&T) for high school students. The AP GIS&T proposal was submitted last month to the College Board, where it is now being formally reviewed. For the most current information, please see the AAG's AP GIS&T Course webpage