Provides an in-depth look at the issues of spatial relationships and how to accurately describe them in natural language.
In January of 1989, the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) organized and hosted a workshopentitled "Languages of Spatial Relations". This meeting was the "Specialist Meeting" for NCGIA Research Initiative #2, which has the same title as the workshop. The research mission of the NCGIA involves removing impediments to the analysis and use of geographic information in theoretical and applied research; one group of conceptual and technical impediments centers around language andlanguages.
The Specialist Meeting brought together geographers, cognitive linguists, computer scientists, engineers, and others in threedays of interdisciplinary discussions on the representation of geographic space-- representation in language, in thought, and in computers. One theme of the meeting was that geographic information systems (GIS) must have at least some capabilities to deal with natural language.
One of the objectives of the Specialist Meeting was to compile a list of "researchable questions" related to the topic, to be included in the report on the meeting. These questions were to emphasize problems that could be tackled within a 12-24 month period, by Center personnel, by other Specialist Meeting participants, and/or by the research community at large.