8th Summer Institute on Geographic Information Science

Florence (Firenze), Italy, 14 to 18 June 2010:

"Interfacing social and environmental modeling"

held at Villa La Pietra, a magnificent set of villas owned by New York University.


Las Navas del Marques, Spain, 4 to 8 July 2010:

"Cognitive and Linguistic Aspects of Geographic Space"

held at Castillo-Palacio Magalia, a historic castle two hours north of Madrid




Interfacing social and environmental modeling

June 14-18, 2010
Co-Facilitators: Gilberto Camara, Henk Scholten, Eduardo Dias, Max Craglia

The week was organized around two perspectives:

1. Development of nature-society models using cellular automata and agents
2. Using and sharing environmental and social models in crisis response

Perspective 1 will discuss the challenges of modelling the interactions between the social and the natural systems. Modelling human-environment interactions involves collecting data, building up a conceptual approach, implementing, calibrating, validating, and repeating one or more steps again. Nature-society models need to combine different methods, including support for both cellular automata and agent-based models. To match these requirements, we will present TerraME, an open source software that supports multiparadigm modelling of nature-society interactions. The lectures will introduce TerraME, and show how to develop models using the software. Attendees to Vespucci Summer School will get essential knowledge on TerraME, and learn how they can further use this software for their research.

Perspective 2 will be addressed with a mix of talks and hands-on work, based on leading edge industry developments using mobile technologies to interface environmental and social models. Social and environmental models play a crucial role in crisis response, helping emergency workers make decisions. Examples include: flood or gas dispersion simulation and dynamic population modelling. However, such models are usually time and resource consuming both in input parameters (e.g. field measurement) and calculation time. Time is essential in crisis response and decision makers have to trade uncertainties in results against costs for resources and time (analogous to economic models). In addition, the information derived from the models must be shared, so that everyone can access the right information at the right time (net-centric approach) and that the same impression of the disaster is shared by all (map-based common operational picture). The participants will be triggered to explore and experiment where and how the use of (geo)models in crisis management leads to greater awareness of the situation, learning about their shortcomings and constraints.

Course Outline

Please find more pictures on Eduardo's 3D PhotoSynth and in the Vespucci ALUMNI Facebook Group


This years quotes:



Las Navas 2010:
Cognitive and Linguistic Aspects of Geographic Space

July 4-8, 2010
Programm Committee: David Mark, Andrew U. Frank, Mike Gould, Werner Kuhn

Almost 20 years ago, from July 8 to 20, 1990, 60 researchers gathered for two weeks at Castillo-Palacio Magalia in Las Navas del Marques (Avila Province, Spain) to discuss cognitive and linguistic aspects of geographic space. This meeting was the start of successful research on cognitive issues in geographic information science, produced an edited book , and led to a biannual conference (COSIT), a refereed journal (Spatial Cognition and Computation), and a substantial and still growing research community.

It appeared worthwhile to assess the achievements and to reconsider the research challenges twenty years later. What has changed in the age of computational ontologies and cyber-infrastructures? Consider that 1990 the web was only about to emerge and the very first laptops had just appeared! The 2010 meeting brought together many of the original participants, but was open to others, and invited contributions from all who were researching these topics. Early-career scientists, engineers, and humanists working at the intersection of cognitive science and geographic information science were invited to help with the re-assessment of research needs and approaches.

The meeting compared the research agenda laid out in the 1990 book with achievements over the past twenty years and then turned to the future: what are the challenges today? What are worthwhile goals for basic research? What can be achieved in the next 20 years? What are the lessons learned?

Please find the programme, the submitted papers and some of the presentations here.

Ole Jacobi, 1990