Communicating Geographic Information in a Digital Age
Michael F. Goodchild
The term Geographic Information has multiple definitions, but is easily defined as “information about the distribution of phenomena on the surface of the earth (and the near-surface)" (Goodchild,Communicating Geographic Information in a Digital Age). Loosely, the term refers to any information used to describe the Earth’s surface and the human happenings that occur on it that is communicated between people using technological terms and formats shared between the sender and the receiver. When the communication of geographic information was first introduced, it was seen as a metaphor for a processing engine. Analysis was seen as the motivating force behind GIS. The user was seen to be empowered through hardware, software, and date integrated through the user interface. However the metaphor view has been challenged by the introduction and development of the internet. In this new digital environment, “computing technology’s primary function has become the mediation and facilitation of communication between people”(Goodchild). Long term impacts of the digital transition have been obvious do to the social and institutional arrangements it has caused. GIS software has become more affordable and digital communication more accessible. In his article, Goodchild observes how computing is dominated by a “paradigm of human communication”, and that the processing engine does not explain the rapid growth in the adoption and use of computing technology.
Image from http://www.powersystem.org/mapping-and-gis
Goodchild, M. F. (2000). Communicating Geographic Information in a Digital Age. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 90(2), 344-355. Retrieved February 21, 2016.