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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Geospatial reawakening

The other day at work was particularly notable. A division at work showcased its accomplishments in the Geosciences domain. Presentations over a half day session showcased and stressed on what adding a geo dimension to all things non spatial can do. I found the showcasing particularly interesting because of my predilection for GIS and dabbles with the same.

Besides giving me a refresher on what Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can do, they also introduced me to yet another modality of GIS - Qualitative/Quantitative system modelling. Even though I have much to learn in this matter; adding a temporal dimension to spatial research did spark my interest.

During the floor discussion, a very knowledgeable colleague raised a very important issue. He pointed out how very little understood spatial research is among the non-spatial crowd. He also righteously reaffirmed that geographic Information (GI) science is not just makings maps.

Integrating spatial science with conventional scientific research (biological or socioeconomic) can add newer facets to conventional research with the help of spatial analysis and modelling tools. It also allows dissemination of the research product to a much wider audience through geovisualisation. This allows even laymen to identify with the research product and infer much from the produced visuals.

Of late, geovisualisation has advanced much courtesy Google Earth, NASA’s World wind, Leica’s Titan, ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer, Microsoft’s Virtual Earth. They bring geospatial products to a much wider  audience through the World Wide Web.

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