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Time in Geographic Space: Report on the Specialist Meeting of Research Initiative 10 (94-9)


This report describes the Specialist Meeting of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) Research Initiative on “Spatio-Temporal Reasoning in GIS.” This Research Initiative addresses space and time as it relates to objects and people in geographic space. The Specialist Meeting for the Research Initiative was held at Lake Arrowhead, CA May 8-11, 1993 to set and prioritize a research agenda.

The primary goal of this report is to disseminate the results of the discussions and make them available to other researchers. Discussions at the workshop focused on cognitive and formalization issues as they relate to spatio-temporal reasoning. Participants identified a research agenda consisting of three complementary parts: studies of human cognitive representation, language, and culture with respect to geographic space and time; developments of formal systems for spatio-temporal reasoning; and efforts to bridge the gap between human and formal systems with appropriate means for communication and interaction. 

Workshop participants found over 60 researchable questions, which they categorized according to this framework and subsequently prioritized. High priority was given to research that increases our knowledge of cognitive spatial representations and how such representations can be formalized. Also, the development of temporal taxonomies recurred throughout the discussions. Several times the need for alternatives to the snapshot space-time model were demanded, for instance by considering processes.

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