Florence (Firenze), Italy : June-July 2009
29 June to 3 July 2009: “Cognitive Processing and Representations of Place, Space, and Time”
6 to 10 July 2009: “INSPIRE implementation”
Week 1 Vespucci Institute
We discuss concepts, theories, and empirical research on representations of place, space, and time, and their cognitive processing by people and other cognitive entities. Representation is a fundamental concept in the study of cognition and geographic information, and in many other areas. It refers to a mapping or correspondence between two patterns, instantiated in physical objects, energy fields, and so on. The representing entity is a spatio-temporal pattern that has a partial “stands-for” relationship with the content of another pattern, the referent entity. Our focus is on both internal and external representations, and their interrelationships. Internal representations are mental entities such as perceptual and memory images, propositional structures, image schemata, and so on. External representations are symbolic or information entities such as maps, diagrams, words, equations, and so on. In addition to a general discussion of the ontology of representation, we will explore relevant properties of representations for the study of cognition in geographic information science and spatial cognition. These include the content of representations, their structure or form, their processing, and their function. For example, we will consider in detail the role of schematic abstraction and iconic resemblance in the processing of external representations. Our readings and discussions will come from multiple disciplinary perspectives, especially computer science, geography and cartography, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology. The Institute’s format will include lectures, extensive discussions, readings, and hands-on activities.
Week 2 Vespucci Institute
We discuss the challenges and opportunities of building spatial data infrastructures in the face of rapidly evolving technologies, processes, and ways in which on-line communities interact. Starting from the European perspective of building INSPIRE, an infrastructure across 27 countries and 23 languages, we explore the concepts, architecture, state-of-the-art, current limitations, and research challenges focusing in particular on the interoperability of services in heterogeneous and distributed settings, and the analysis of social and economic impacts. The issues we addressed are relevant across the world, and a key part o the week will be devoted to explore the interactions between spatial data infrastructures and global initiatives such as GEOSS, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, a voluntary inter-governmental initiative addressing nine major societal benefit areas: Disasters, Health, Energy, Climate, Water, Weather, Ecosystems, Agriculture, and Biodiversity. Looking from the perspective of both technologists, and researchers/users in these thematic areas, we assess the current state of development of these initiatives, and the benefits they provide. Throughout the week we will adopt a critical analytical stance to assess the directions that research and practice need to take to truly serve societal needs, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of government lead developments versus new ways of social interaction and participative democracy generally labeled as Web 2.0. Our readings and discussions will come from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and the Institute’s format will include lectures, extensive discussions, readings, and group activities.