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Sheet1 Page 1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SCIENCE: CRITICAL ISSUES IN AN EMERGING CROSS-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH DOMAIN David M. Mark February 1999 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Executive Summary Scenarios for geographic information use in the year 2010 suggest great potential to extend the capabilities of scientific researchers, decision-makers, and the public. This potential, however, will only be realized if there are substantial advances in Geographic Information Science, enhancing knowledge of geographic concepts and their computational implementations. To assess the needs for basic research in this emerging science and technology field, a workshop was held at the National Science Foundation January 14-15, 1999. Workshop participants <participants.html> represented a broad range of the disciplines involved in Geographic Information Science and technology. The workshop identified two important research streams: research in basic Geographic Information Science (hereafter, GIScience), and research using geographic information /systems/ (hereafter, GIS). It is imperative that research in these two areas be integrated, as applications motivate the science, and awareness of theory improves applications. Basic research in GIScience has several compelling components. First is software integration, a general problem that needs specific research to solve its geospatial dimensions. Second, scale and resolution are spatial problems that interact with the scales (characteristic lengths) of environmental and social processes and with data quality. Third, process models are a general computing problem, but again geographic applications will require uniquely geographic solutions. And fourth, usability of systems and technologies is also a major component in need of research. In addition, uncertainty and spatial dependence were recognized as important crosscutting research themes. Geographic Information Science is clearly a coherent research field of strategic importance. Workshop participants agreed that there is an urgent need for a focused investment in Geographic Information Science research, and that the National Science Foundation is the most appropriate US agency to do this. Such an investment is consistent with several important national trends, represented by the President's Information Technology Advisory Technology for the Twenty-First Century (IT2) initiative, and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The workshop found that there is a coherent research community poised to make advances in Geographic
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Sheet1 Page 2 Information Science if sufficient research support is made available. The workshop participants made the following recommendations to the
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