Tobler Lecture 2012 Event: Are There Fundamental Concepts in GIScience?

Sunday 2/26/12 from 4:40 to 6:20 in Gramercy Suite A, Hilton NY, Second Floor

In over 40 years of GIS development and use, researchers continue to turn to fundamental concepts of GIScience. At a point in time where geographic information has become a key enabler for many information age developments, the GI Systems and Sciences Specialty Group is organizing its annual Tobler lecture on 2/26/12 as an event to engage these issues.

Two esteemed GIScientists, Nicholas Chrisman and Andrew Frank, will offer their thoughts about fundamental concepts in GIScience picking up on past exchanges. These researchers have engaged questions about core conceptual issues in GIScience throughout their careers and are known for viewpoints that bring the range of conceptual issues to the fore. Two observations frame these parts of the discussion. First, is that the field of GIScience is undergoing changes as GI becomes an essential part of ubiquitous computing environments. Second, it will be now 50 years since Waldo Tobler published his dissertation, an academic event that preceded an illustrious career. The Tobler Lecture Event 2012 comes at a highly suitable moment to consider the past, reflect on the present and think about the role of GIScientists in shaping the future. To round off the Tobler Lecture Event Dan Sui will offer a commentary on their presentations and Kate Beard will moderate the event. An online discussion forum (see below) extends the discussion.

The title of this year’s lecture, “Are there fundamental concepts to GIScience?”,  addresses the continued importance of engaging underlying conceptual issues in science. In this regard, and reflecting Waldo Tobler’s engagement with fundamental concepts that informed the development of GIS and GIScience. The contributions and comments should take up fundamental concepts with an eye towards engaging where geographic information science and technologies are going. Relevant to our contributions and discussion at the lecture is the milestone we are reaching that Waldo Tobler’s PhD was completed in 1961, 50 years ago. One point of engagement for the lecture is thus: Where are fundamental concepts now in relationship to developments of the last fifty years? The 2012 Tobler lecture comes at a good point in time to reflect on where GIScience is going and its relationship to the harnessing of geographic information technologies in ubiquitous computing. The event, online group discussion and publications engage spatial information communication, archival, and analysis issues that remain central to GIScience.

Interactive discussion forum:

Everyone can read group postings; however you need to join the group to make postings. You can subscribe to the group through the web interface or via email. To subscribe to the group through the web interface, simply log in to your Google Account and visit the group of your choice. Then click the “Join this group” link on the right-hand side of the page under “About this group.” You can also email to request an invite if you want to post messages to the group. These online discussions will be taken up at the event. Follow-up discussions as well as a publication with written versions of the presentations and discussion contribution are planned.

The 2011 Tobler lecture event promises to offer rich food for thought on the past, present, and future of GIScience.

Further information on Google Groups is at:

The Tobler Lecture 2012 Event is scheduled for Sunday 2/26/12 from 4:40 to 6:20 in Gramercy Suite A, Hilton NY, Second Floor.

Plan to come to the Transactions in GIS lecture held in the same room before the Tobler Lecture Event.