Colloquium on Place in GIScience

We cordially invite everybody interested to our next open GIScience colloquium talk!

The speaker is Dr. René Westerholt from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick, UK.

When: Monday 29.07.2019, 2:15 pm

Where: INF 348, room 015 (Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University)

Place in GIScience – A human geographic overview of the components to be formalised

The term “place” describes geographical entities that are important for individuals or groups of people. While abstract, geometric space, as it is mostly used in GIScience, is based on coordinates, places are represented and expressed verbally and on the level of experience. Therefore, it has been difficult in GIScience to grasp this inherently complex concept in order to make it available for formal treatments, reasoning, and modelling. This talk argues that many attempts to use place suffer from a lack of coherent theoretical underpinning and conceptual accuracy. Most GIScience papers refer to authors such as Yi-Fu Tuan, Edward Relph, and Doreen Massey. Too often, however, this happens in an almost anecdotal manner that does not take into account the philosophical depth of the concepts mentioned. In this talk, I will give a synopsis of the human geographical concepts of place and their constituent components that are likely to be required in a sufficiently comprehensive GIScience characterisation of places. These components include landscape (the visual component of place), locale (the physical conditions under which social interaction takes place), and sense-of-place (the way people relate themselves to places). These concepts are complex, and it is argued that it is precisely the great challenge of place-based GIScience research to combine them into a unified formal construct.