UNIT 73 - GIS AND SPATIAL COGNITION

UNIT 73 - GIS AND SPATIAL COGNITION

Compiled with assistance from Suchi Gopal, Boston University

  • A. INTRODUCTION
  • B. SPATIAL INFORMATION FROM GIS
  • C. SPATIAL LEARNING
  • D. FORM OF SPATIAL REPRESENTATION
  • E. EFFECTS OF INTERNAL REPRESENTATION ON SPATIAL REASONING
  • F. HOW DOES NATURAL LANGUAGE STRUCTURE SPACE?
  • G. RELEVANCE TO GIS
  • REFERENCES
  • EXAM AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • NOTES

    UNIT 73 - GIS AND SPATIAL COGNITION

    Compiled with assistance from Suchi Gopal, Boston University

    A. INTRODUCTION

    B. SPATIAL INFORMATION FROM GIS

    Components of the user interface

    Fundamental questions

    C. SPATIAL LEARNING

    1. Developmental psychology perspective

    2. Cognitive and environmental psychological perspective

    D. FORM OF SPATIAL REPRESENTATION

    Images or propositions?

    Hierarchical or non-hierarchical structures?

    Frames of reference

    E. EFFECTS OF INTERNAL REPRESENTATION ON SPATIAL REASONING

    Causes of errors in spatial reasoning

    F. HOW DOES NATURAL LANGUAGE STRUCTURE SPACE?

    Examples

    Fuzziness

    G. RELEVANCE TO GIS

    Design of better user interfaces and query languages

    Design of universal GIS systems

    New database models

    Improved data entry techniques

    Expert Systems

    REFERENCES

    Herskovits, A., 1987. Spatial Prepositions in English. Cambridge University Press. Interesting book on the use and meaning of spatial prepositions.

    Kuipers, B., 1978. "Modeling spatial knowledge," Cognitive Science 2:129-53. One of the most influential papers on the classes of spatial knowledge.

    Piaget, J. and B. Inhelder, 1967. The Child's Conception of Space. The classic developmental theory.

    Talmy, L., 1983. "How language structures space," in H. Pick and L. Acredolo, editors, Spatial Orientation: Theory, Research and Application, Plenum Press, New York. Argues that language affects the ways in which we think about spatial relationships.

    EXAM AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    1. Summarize the arguments for believing that an understanding of processes of spatial learning and reasoning is essential if we are to design better GISs, particularly better user interfaces.

    2. What would be the desirable functions and other characteristics of a portable GIS for the visually impaired?

    3. A paper by Openshaw and Mounsey ("Geographic Information Systems and the BBC Domesday Interactive Videodisk," International Journal of Geographical Information Systems 1:173-180, 1987) describes the design of the BBC Domesday Project, a form of electronic atlas using optical disk technology. What features of the conventional atlas does this system implement? In what ways does it go beyond the capabilities of the conventional atlas? How might principles of human spatial learning and reasoning be combined with the capabilities of GIS to significantly improve the usefulness of the atlas concept? (Note: a number of other atlas-like digital products are available and might be used as similar bases for discussion.)

    4. A simple way to illustrate the problems of spatial relations in natural language is to take a formal representation of some spatial data - e.g. a small part of a topographic map or a city street map. One person is asked to describe the contents of the map using only natural language to another person, who must then try to reconstruct the map. Both are aware of the rules governing the map's contents, e.g. contour interval. The participants could be asked to summarize the results, including the role of non- verbal communication, e.g. facial expressions and gestures.


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