Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is Geospatial a Bad Word?

So I "discovered", in the same sense Columbus "discovered" America, a new podcast available through ITunes. It is the Penn State Department of Geography Coffee Hour to Go, http://www.geog.psu.edu/coffee_hour/. Basically they have prominent Geographers discuss current research and the like. The one that I listened to was Dr. Michael Goodchild's presentation on the impact of GIS in Geography. It's an interesting take on the importance of GIS in the discipline of Geography, worth a listen. But, in the lecture, Dr. Goodchild uses the word "Geospatial," saying it somewhat disdainfully. He doesn't elaborate on why this is the case, but it is clear he doesn't like the term. I'm sure I've used the term before, in speech or in writing, but I've never really thought about. The first thing that popped into my head when I really thought about it was that it seems redundant. Wouldn't Geo imply Spatial? Maybe to a Geographer it would. Mostly, though, I'm curious why Dr. Goodchild would be opposed to the term. So I'll toss that question out to cyberspace in hopes that it comes back with a response - Is Geospatial a bad word?

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