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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Varenius was an NCGIA project to advance geographic information science within the context of the information society. The key strategic areas of research included (1) cognitive models of geographic space, (2) computational implementations of geographic concepts, and (3) geographies of the information society. The conceptualization of the Varenius Project (named in honor of Bernard Varenius, the 17th century geographer and author of Geographia Generalis) began in 1995. It was funded by the National Science Foundation in the period February 1997 through November 1999 and provided a platform for expanding the NCGIA traditions of research initiatives and related specialist research meetings.

Cover page of Spatial Learning in Formal and Informal Settings—White paper on Transitions from Childhood to the Workforce

Spatial Learning in Formal and Informal Settings—White paper on Transitions from Childhood to the Workforce

(1999)

This white paper is based on outcomes from a workshop in Santa Barbara CA in September 1999. Questions relating to the spatial skills and abilities necessary for transition from childhood to the workplace were examined by 30 multidisciplinary experts. This white paper presents a summary of the two general foci of the meeting along with the general research topics that the group deemed critical along with specific research questions within each critical topic.

Cover page of Discovering Geographic Knowledge in Data Rich Environments, Final Report

Discovering Geographic Knowledge in Data Rich Environments, Final Report

(1999)

The goal of this NCGIA-Varenius workshop and research initiative was to find new automated methods for filtering large amounts of raw geographic data into more user-consumable forms of knowledge. This includes: i) spatial data mining; ii) content-based and knowledge-based retrieval; iii) development of multi-media spatial data types; iv) on-line analytic processing; v) refinement of non-parametric statistics; vi) incorporation of computational intelligence techniques (such as neural networks and AI expert systems) into spatial data analysis. A key objective of the "geographic knowledge discovery" (GKD) workshop was to bring together the diverse stakeholders in GKD and spatial data mining. This report provides an overview of the workshop, lists the workshop participants, and provides the position papers submitted in response to the open Call for Participation. The final section summarizes workshop presentations and discussion.

Cover page of Transitions from Childhood to the Workforce, Specialist Meeting Introduction and Position Papers

Transitions from Childhood to the Workforce, Specialist Meeting Introduction and Position Papers

(1999)

Participants in this specialist meeting (Santa Barbara, CA, September 1999) explored research questions at the nexus of Geography, Education, Psychology and Cognitive Science regarding "Integrating Research & Education in the Spatial Domain" and  "Spatial Problem Solving in the K-12 and Undergraduate Arenas." Participant position papers on these themes are included in this report.

Cover page of Multiple Modalities and Multiple Frames of Reference for Spatial Knowledge, Final Report

Multiple Modalities and Multiple Frames of Reference for Spatial Knowledge, Final Report

(1999)

This meeting of multi-disciplinary researchers (Santa Barbara, CA, February 1999) explored the integration and problems associated with multiple modalities and multiple frames of reference, as represented in spatial language and human decision making. Modality themes included learning environments via maps, navigation, and virtual navigation; tactile, auditory, and visual localization and navigation; and learning environments from spatial descriptions. Reference frames under consideration included relative, intrinsic, and absolute reference frames for describing locations; orientation-free vs. orientation-specific representations; heads-up and north-up maps in navigation systems; mixing gaze, route, and survey perspectives in descriptions; expressing differing modalities or frames through language; and cross-cultural differences in the use of reference frames. This report summarizes the discussions and plenary presentation, and presents a set of research questions for further investigation.

Cover page of Empowerment, Marginalization & Public Participation GIS, Final Report

Empowerment, Marginalization & Public Participation GIS, Final Report

(1999)

This Specialist Meeting (Santa Barbara, CA, 15-17 Oct. 1998) brought together individuals with deep experience with public participation GIS to share experiences about alternative GIS designs and applications to better reflect community interests and involve and empower its members. The meeting also explored the unintended consequences of PPGIS in marginalizing people and communities. The participants presented case studies in a diversity of social contexts. Key themes of the meeting included: identifying community information needs and how PPGIS might contribute to those needs; the multiple ways in which PPGIS are being designed and implemented; the impacts on communities arising from differential access to GIS hardware, software, data, and expertise; the nature of GIS knowledge distortion and the ways in which socially differentiated communities and their local knowledge might be represented within a PPGIS; changes in local politics and power relationships arising from the use of PPGIS in decision making; unintended outcomes of PPGIS implementation, including red-lining, local surveillance, and breaches of confidentiality and privacy; and the potential of PPGIS to empower people and communities. Extended abstracts of papers from 38 participants, discussion summaries, and meeting recommendations are provided in this report.

Cover page of Measuring and Representing Accessibility in the Information Age, Final Report

Measuring and Representing Accessibility in the Information Age, Final Report

(1999)

The specialist meeting at the Asilomar Conference Center was intended to advance the understanding of accessibility in the Information Age. Discussions were structured around three primary themes regarding (1) the conceptualization and measurement of accessibility, (2) the visualization and representation of information space within Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and (3) the social issues that should inform the measurement and representation of accessibility. Fifteen position papers and summaries from discussion groups are presented in this report.

Cover page of Place & Identity in an Age of Technologically Regulated Movement, Final Report

Place & Identity in an Age of Technologically Regulated Movement, Final Report

(1999)

This three-day specialist meeting in Santa Barbara, CA (8-10 Oct. 1998) convened 25 participants to explore the nature of identity in an era of vastly increased movement of people, goods, and information, yet also an era in which information and geographic-information technologies portend an equally increased ability to trace and record those movements, not just at border crossings but virtually everywhere. Will the ease of movement of ideas spell the end of spatially bounded communities? Will the threat of surveillance give new life to the most insular, place- and non-place bound communities? Or will, perhaps, the “fragmented identities” celebrated by postmodernists become the norm? This report addresses these interrelated questions and provides summary abstracts from participants and a synthesis of meeting discussions and recommendations.

Cover page of Workshop on Status and Trends in Spatial Analysis

Workshop on Status and Trends in Spatial Analysis

(1998)

The National Science Foundation sponsored a workshop on status and trends in spatial analysis from December 10­-12, 1998 organized under the Varenius program, the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA)’s project to advance geographic information science. The workshop focused on assessing how successful GIS has been at making spatial analysis widely available to physical and social scientists, and of what new directions might be researched in the future. 

This document includes a list of the participants involved in the workshop, as well as the position papers they submitted with their application.

Cover page of Cognitive Models of Dynamic Geographic Phenomena and Their Representations, Final Report

Cognitive Models of Dynamic Geographic Phenomena and Their Representations, Final Report

(1998)

The workshop on "Cognitive Models of Dynamic Geographic Phenomena and Their Representations" was designed to bring together cognitive psychologists, geographers computer scientists, and others to discuss theories and methods for understanding dynamic geographic phenomena or for implementing dynamic representations of geographic events. The workshop was held on the University of Pittsburgh campus on October 28-31, 1998. This report summarizes the activities of the workshop, including the discussion of open research questions and awarding of seed grants to participants.

Cover page of The Ontology of Fields, Final Report

The Ontology of Fields, Final Report

(1998)

This report describes the results of the Specialist Meeting about “The Ontology of Fields” (Bar Harbor, Maine, June 11-13, 1998). The main purpose of the meeting was to examine the ontology and conceptualizations of geographic phenomena in terms of spatially continuous fields. The concept of field is widely used in a variety of scientific contexts, most notably in mathematical physics, and many geographically distributed variables (e.g., elevation and temperature) are conceptualized as single-valued functions of location. This document explores questions addressed at the meeting regarding the nature, representation, and modeling of fields. It also summarizes discussions among invited experts and provides abstracts of presentations.