Epidemics and pandemics such as the COVID-19 outbreak have clear geographic dimensions due to the vector spreading the virus (human contact), demographics and co-morbidity factors that vary geographically, the distributed and heterogeneous nature of health care systems, and the highly variable response and interventions from political authorities and the public-at-large. The decline and shifts in human activity also affect broader social, economic and environmental systems to varying degrees. Geospatial information can play vital roles in crafting effective government and societal responses at the operational, tactical and strategic levels.
On 17 June 2020, the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine will host an online workshop on Geospatial Needs for a Pandemic-Resilient World. This workshop will explore the needs of federal agencies, organizations, and scientists for geospatial data science to understand and respond to epidemics/pandemics and developing infrastructure and policies that facilitate effective management and graceful recovery from these types of shocks. This workshop is free and open to the public.
New publication: Miller, H.J. (2020) “GIScience, fast and slow – Why faster geographic information is not always smarter,” Progress in Human Geography, 44, 129-138.
Abstract. The growing maturity and deployment of low-cost georeferenced sensors, navigation systems, fast wireless communication, cyberinfrastructure and the Internet of Things (IoT) is accelerating the speed of geographic data flowing from the environment and our capabilities for reacting quickly to geographic information, often automatically and in real-time. This is leading to the rise of real-time GIS and smart cities technologies. While reacting quickly to changing circumstances has value, there are potentials for unintended consequences and rebound effects resulting from our inability to build geographic knowledge quickly and the selective acceleration of societal processes. This report discusses why these unintended outcomes may occur, and suggests technical and scientific approaches for understanding and managing the potential impacts of fast geographic data.
The first of three GIS status update reports commissioned by PiHG:
Miller, H. J. (2017) “Geographic information science I: Geographic information observatories and opportunistic GIScience,” Progress in Human Geography. Online publication date: May-15-2017. DOI: 10.1177/0309132517710741
Abstract: Geographic information observatories (GIOs) extend the capabilities for observatory-based science to the broad geographic data associated with a place or region. GIOs are a form of scientific instrumentation that affords a holistic view of geographic data. This potentially could lead to new insights about geographic information, as well as the human and coupled human-natural systems described by this information. In this report, I discuss GIOs in light of a timely question – what new types of GIScience should we be doing with big geographic data? I argue that GIOs also allow for a new type of opportunistic geographic information science that leverages real-world events via ongoing observation, experimentation and decision-support.
Keywords: data science, geographic information observatory, natural experiments, opportunistic science, spatial decision support