Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Publication in Virtual Geographic Environments

We just received a copy of Virtual Geographic Environments, the book has contributions by Jack Dangermond, Mike Goodchild, Mike Batty, Hui Lin and many others (including ourselves) and provides a unique guide to the current state of play in GIS and virtual environs.

Andrew Hudson-Smith and myself have contributed a chapter entitled "The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life". The abstract for our paper is:

"Web 2.0, specifically The Cloud, GeoWeb and Wikitecture are revolutionising the way in which we present, share and analyse geographic data. In this paper we outline and provide working examples a suite of tools which are detailed below, aimed at developing new applications of GIS and related technologies. GeoVUE is one of seven nodes in the National Centre for e-Social Science whose mission it is to develop web-based technologies for the social and geographical sciences. The Node, based at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London has developed a suite of free software allowing quick and easy visualisation of geographic data in systems such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Crysis and Second Life. These tools address two issues, firstly that spatial data is still inherently difficult to share and visualise for the non-GIS trained academic or professional and secondly that a geographic data social network has the potential to dramatically open up data sources for both the public and professional geographer. With our applications of GMap Creator, and MapTube to name but two, we detail ways to intelligently visualise and share spatial data. This paper concludes with detailing usage and outreach as well as an insight into how such tools are already providing a significant impact to the outreach of geographic information."

What ESRI says about the book:

"Virtual geographic environments are essential to using GIS in design. For example, before a design for a city or landscape can be produced, an environment must be created through GIS. Thisbook cover is then fashioned into a form where users have access to it, first to enhance their understanding through exploration, and then to enable them to change various components in the effort to solve problems that can realize better designs. Only now, through the development of virtual city models and through new ways of enabling users to interact with geographic information using new screen technologies, is the point being approached where design is possible. Virtual Geographic Environments, edited by Hui Lin and Michael Batty, collects key papers that define the current momentum in GIS and "virtual geographies." In some sense, such environments are the natural consequence of linking GIS to other technologies that deal with information, design, and service provision, and this will undoubtedly grow as it becomes ever easier to integrate diverse software and data across the Web. The idea that geographic information can be both collected and made available through Web-based services, using Web 2.0 technologies that network many millions of people together, has formed a major research thrust in software development over the last decade. The numerous contributions by leading members of the geospatial community to Virtual Geographic Environments illustrate the cutting edge of GIScience, as well as new applications of GIS with the processing and delivery of geographic information through the Web and handheld devices, forming two major directions to these developments. But the notion that these Web-based systems can be used to collect information of a voluntary kind through methods of crowd sourcing is also an exciting and widely unanticipated development that is driving the field. As these services gain ground, new business models are being invented that merge proprietary and nonproprietary systems and novel ways of integrating diverse software through many different processes of software development from map hacks to open system architectures. Virtual Geographic Environments is published by Science Press, China (, 350 pages, hardcover. For more information, contact the responsible editors Peng Shengchao and Guan Yan, Science Press (e-mail:"

Digital Urban has a competition to win a copy of the book, click here to read the question.

Full Reference:
Hudson-Smith, A. and Crooks, A. T. (2011), The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life, in Lin, H. and Batty, M. (eds.), Virtual Geographic Environments, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA. pp 25-36.  (pdf)

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