Last week I attended an interesting event here in Tokyo, labelled “Spatial Thinking and Geographic Information Science STGIS2011”. The event was initiated by the University of Tokyo (東京大学) Center for Spatial Information Science (CSIS) at their satellite campus in Komaba, located in the west of Tokyo. It was a three-day event, held for the first time, with a focus on the “spatial thinking” component of GIScience and attracted scholars from all over the world.
The conference was kicked-off with a focus session on the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11th with several impressive presentations by people and institutions involved with the process of gathering, preparing and distributing necessary information in the course of the disaster. Notable keynotes were given afterwards by Michael F. Goodchild (Director of UCSB’s Center for Spatial Studies) and Michael Batty (Director of the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, @jmichaelbatty) about the current role and future developments of Spatial Thinking in the GISciences.
Further keynote speeches in the course of the following two days gave interesting insights into the concept of Spatial Literacy (Sarah Bednarz & Karen Kemp) and how Collaborative Mobility can help building cooperative transportation systems (Harvey J. Miller).
The proceedings for the aforementioned keynotes as well as for all the remaining 49 presentations are freely available here. Further information about the conference itself can also be found on its official website.
In summary it was a very successful event that provided interesting insights into the phenomenon of Spatial Thinking – what it is and isn’t, how it can be fostered in GIScience education, and leveraged in geospatial analysis.