Kelly turned us on to this plugin from Google. Each time you get a new tab on your browser, you get treated to a new picture of the earth! But, check this one out:
From Drebkau, Germany. I have no idea what tihs is an image of - I think it is grain fields of some kind, but it looks so much llke a sweater. Any thoughts?/span>
There was a session that focused on education in which ideas about challenging in teaching “cyberGIS” to undergraduate students, among other things. Additionally, Tim Nyerges gave the CyberGIS plenary: "Computing Complex Sustainable Systems Resilience" in which he made the case that CyberGIS is a framework for studying socio-economic systems, resilience, and system feedbacks.
About the term Cyber. I am not alone in my dislike of the term "CyberGIS" (Matrix 4, anyone?), but it seems to have stuck here at AAG. In many of the talks “cyber” meant “bigger". There were mentions of the “cyber thing”, which I took to be a placeholder for cluster computing. However, there are many other terms that are being used by the speakers. For example, I saw talks that focused on participatory, structured, analytic-deliberation from UW, or high performance geocomputation from ORNL; the latter term I think better captures what earth system science people might recognize. Many talks used as their entry point to Cyber the proliferation of data that characterizes modern geography and life.
These sessions were organized through an NSF-funded center: The CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies http://cybergis.illinois.edu/. Their formal definition of CyberGIS is: “geographic information science and systems (GIS) based on advanced infrastructure of computing, information, and communication technologies (aka cyberinfrastructure)". They say it "has emerged over the past several years as a vibrant interdisciplinary field and played essential roles in enabling computing-, data- and collaboration-intensive geospatial research and education across a number of domains with significant societal impact."
And of course, we had excellent talks by the Kellys: Kelly presented on our VTM work: "Quantifying diversity and conservation status of California's Oak trees using the historic Vegetation Type Mapping (VTM) dataset” as part of an organized Historical Ecology session. Alice presented her paper: "Policing Paradise: The Evolution of Law Enforcement in US National Parks" as part of the session on Green Violence 2: Interrogating New Conflicts over Nature and Conservation.
Goodbye Chicago! You provided a wonderful venue, despite the cold!/span>
In lab group meetings we have been discussing the evolution and future of Spatial Data Science as a discipline.
Therefore when I recently stummbled upon a article about a reserarch project looking at the evolution of Geography based on a database of Doctoral Dissertation Titles, I couldn't help but be excited, and intrigued by the connection.
This reasearch from Kent University Professors David Kaplan and Jennifer Mapes is also reminiscent of Kelly Lab's own Shufei Lei's recent work analyzing and mapping textual data in the context of ecological systems and adapative managment!
Just like spatial data science, Geography as a discipline has struggled with defining its' complex identity, its principles and concepts spanning and borrowing from several established discipinces.
From the article:
"Geography is a relatively young discipline in terms of university academics, and for much of its history, geographers have struggled to define what exactly the discipline includes, said Keith Woodward, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
So for a historical perspective, this type of database would be helpful looking at a timeline of how geographers defined their field, Woodward said."
The database is a compliation of 10,290 dissertations ranging back to the late 1800's with the goal of understanding the trends, concentrations, and expansion of Geography as a discipline over time.
Although currently unpublished (look out for an article in Geographical Review early 2015) there are a few preliminary findings and possibilites that sound immensly interesting:
"The study maps which universities have high percentages of dissertations focused on domestic or foreign regions, and also shifts in which regions of the world were popular topics for dissertations."
"A database of dissertations could provide a glimpse into what academics are interested in and how their focuses shifts as de-colonization and globalization occurs, Woodward said."
"Much of the focus so far has been on the words within the dissertation titles and how they’re used. Geographers today like to explain the field as a study of space and place, Mapes said. But those words didn’t become popular in dissertations until the 1960s."
Read the full article here and look out for an article in Geographical Review early 2015.