Geodesign Summit Asks Attendees to Reimagine Their World

Esri logoHands-on Experience and Collaboration Will Fuel This Year’s Event

GIS and design professionals, academics, and developers will gather at Esri headquarters in Redlands, California, January 24–25, 2013, for the fourth annual Geodesign Summit. The event is open to anyone working at the intersection of geography and design. This year’s theme, Reimagine Your World, underscores how attendees can use geodesign to realize the best possible outcomes for both their projects and the planet.

“This year we’re doing something a little different: we’re giving attendees the chance to get hands-on experience working with the tools they’ve just seen presented. They can also explore solutions to some of the real-life project workflow issues they encounter every day,” said Shannon McElvaney, global industry manager of community development at Esri. “No matter what your position—manager, academic, or analyst—you will find value in these sessions.”

Attendees will have ample opportunity to participate, collaborate, and network with others in and across disciplines, helping to build the community of geodesign practitioners. Featured speakers, Lightning Talks, and enabling technology demonstrations will round out the summit.

One of the featured speakers is Frederick Steiner, dean of the University of Texas, Austin, School of Architecture. Steiner has worked with local, state, and federal agencies on diverse environmental plans and designs. His most recent books are Urban Ecological Design: A Process for Regenerative Places (coauthored with Danilo Palazzo) and Design for a Vulnerable Planet. His presentation, “Bushwick, You’re Beautiful,” describes how design can elevate our understanding of relationships in our surroundings and enable us to adapt to change accordingly.

For more information and to register, visit

[Source: Esri press release]

Theory and Application in a Post-GISystems World

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 24 September 2012

Dawn J. Wright

“This perspectives paper uses the seminal article of Goodchild (1992) as a lens through which to review and reflect upon several longstanding issues that have influenced the field of geographic information science in the past and will continue to be important at least into the next decade. Under the category of theory, the continuing issue of ‘tool versus science’ now has implications for the defining of geographic information systems (GISs) as a profession. In turn, a brief perspective is offered on how GIS has contributed to ‘methodological versus substantive’ questions in science, leading to the understanding of how the Earth works versus how the Earth should look.

Example of a structure curvilinear orthogonal grid for modeling a variety of physical oceanographic processes in Massachusetts Bay as part of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System

Example of a structure curvilinear orthogonal grid for modeling a variety of physical oceanographic processes in Massachusetts Bay as part of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) from Signell (2010). The pink region is a simulation of Boston Harbor sewage effluent from an offshore pipe (500:1 dilution), shown within the context of a vertical section of ocean temperature (0–15°C) and a horizontal slice of ocean current velocities (blue base with white current vectors). Running in the background is an ocean forecast model that uses IOOS conventions for serving data on the grid. The modeling is part of a series of testbeds designed to evaluate multiple models on specific environmental issues, as well as to improve the existing IOOS framework for data interoperability among models and related GIS operations.

“Both understandings of the Earth are particularly germane to the emergence of tools and applications such as marine and coastal GIS, virtual globes, spatial cyber infrastructure, and the ethics of GIS. And in the realm of marine and coastal GIS, the example of multidimensional data structuring and scaling is used to highlight an underlying lesson of Goodchild (1992) in that theory and application are in no way mutually exclusive, and it may often be application that advances theory, rather than vice versa. Indeed, it may be this reversal that is ushering in a ‘post-GISystems’ world, where GIS is subsumed into a broader framework known simply as ‘the web,’ divorced from the desktop, but providing a new paradigm for GIS (aligned with the ‘fourth paradigm’ of Hey et al. 2009). As so much data and information will be collected spatially in a way not possible before (e.g., the ‘big data’ of global observational science), GIS will need to be both system and science to support the turn toward more place-based research across increasing scientific domains. GIS is needed also by society at large to guide the understanding of the longstanding fundamentals of geolocation, scale, proximity, distance decay, the neighborhood, the region, the territory, and more.”