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Sheet1 Page 1 COGNITION OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Objective Research in the cognition of geographic information deals with human perception, memory, reasoning, and communication involving the spatiotemporal and thematic attributes of objects and events, both in the real world and in digital representations. Basic research in geographic cognition is relevant to many issues involving geographic information: data collection and storage, graphic representation and interface design, spatial analysis, interoperability, decision-making, the societal context of GIS, and more. We believe that many aspects of geographic information system usability, efficiency, and profitability can be improved by greater attention to cognitive research. Background A growing number of researchers are addressing cognitive questions about geographic information. Such work stems from a research tradition begun primarily in the 1950s and 1960s by behavioral geographers, cartographers, urban planners, and environmental psychologists. Behavioral geographers began developing theories and models of the human reasoning and decision-making involved in spatial behavior, such as migration, vacationing, and daily travel. Cartographers initiated research on how maps and map symbols are perceived and understood by map users, both expert and novice. Planners began to study how humans perceive and learn about built environments, in order to improve their design. Finally, environmental psychologists refocused traditional questions about psychological processes and structures to understand how they operate in built and natural environments, such as public buildings, neighborhoods, cities, and wilderness areas. During the decades since the 1960s, several additional disciplines within the behavioral and cognitive sciences have contributed their own research questions and methodologies to this topic. Within research psychology, the subfields of perceptual, cognitive, developmental, educational, industrial/organizational, and social psychology have all conducted research on questions relating to how humans acquire and use spatial and nonspatial information about the world. Architects have joined planners in an attempt to improve the design of built environments through an understanding of human cognition in and of those environments. Both linguists and anthropologists have conducted research on human language and conceptualization about space and place. Artificial intelligence (AI) researchers within computer science and other disciplines have developed simulations of spatial intelligence, in some cases as part of the design of mobile robots. More recently, within the past five to ten years, an interest in geographic cognition has developed within the geographic information
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Sheet1 Page 2 community, a community that now includes many of the disciplines described above. The Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT) takes place every two years since 1993, bringing together researchers from several different countries and disciplines to discuss cognitive
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This note was uploaded on 10/05/2010 for the course GEO 591 taught by Professor Davidm.mark during the Fall '10 term at SUNY Buffalo.

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