People-based Geographic Information Science

Harey J. Miller

Influencing the relationship between people and places are technologies to mitigate the friction of distance. Transportation and communication systems are space-adjusting technologies since they change the nature of experienced space with respect to the time, cost and effort required to move people, material or information among locations. Transportation and communication technologies have been available for centuries, conveyances and media such as the chariot, clipper ship, mail, railroads, telegraph and telephone had well-documented transformative effects on societies and economies However, in the late 20th and the early 21st centuries, the widespread deployment and democratization of technologies such as the automobile, commercial aviation, the Internet and the mobile phone has resulted in an unprecedented explosion in the mobility and connectivity for many people in the world. It is possible that we have passed a threshold beyond which a place-based perspective alone is no longer viable.

Most GIS-based tools for transportation, urban and social analysis continue a place-based emphasis that is increasingly ill-suited to answer important questions in theory, policy and practice in the contemporary age.  The increasing disconnection between people and places means that a people-based representation is also required to address questions of access, exclusion and evolution at the forefront of transportation, urban and social analysis and policy. A people-based GIS can be achieved by integrating principles from time geography and activity theory with geographic information science, location-aware technologies, mobile objects databases, geo-simulation, spatial analysis, geovisualization and geographic knowledge discovery. 

This workshop will discuss the principles, state of the art and research needs for a people-based GIS based on integrating time geographic and space-time activity concepts with the theories and tools of GIS. This includes representation of time in GIS as well as the capture, representation and analysis of active, mobile spatial objects.