Investigating Research – How do Spatial Questions Arise?

We, as researchers, are often so embedded and ingrained within our discipline that we lose sight of the academic landscape around us. Chemistry rarely talks to Geography which rarely talks to History. We live happily in these constructed groups and focus on advancing our own discipline. If we take a step back, sometimes we can learn from others and apply their ways of working and methodology to unveil new and exciting opportunities within our own work.

As GIS-ers/Spatial Scientists/Georesearchers we are heavily spatially focused. But where do these spatial questions come from? Why do we, as a society, care about “spatial”?

I attempt to disseminate and investigate “spatial” by looking at historic examples but also at contemporary issues that GIS faces as a discipline.

You can read the essay in full at:

http://kelvinwong.co.uk/docs/Why_Spatial_v8.pdf

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The above essay was written for a module called “Investigating Research”. What does that entail? you may ask. Well the first lecture I turned up for I was incredibly dubious. It seemed to be so “far out” and different to anything I did on a day-to-day basis. By the end of it, I absolutely loved it as it basically makes you abstract yourself from your embedded role and to critically analyse what really matters in your discipline/subject. It puts into context why we do what we do each day.

Now, the above essay is only 3,000 words long and I wish I had more time and words as sadly it wasn’t as developed as I wished it could have been. I felt I managed to give a comprehensive history of Geography and Spatial but lacked the nitty gritty analysis of why we do things. The end result was a tad superficial but in all was a rewarding exercise. It raised more questions than it answered and in a sense I wonder if we GIS-ers and the discipline of GIS is only held together by a very thin thread or are we just an aspiring bunch trying hard to establish ourselves to be more than just pretty maps.

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