13th Summer Institute on Geographic Information in Science


Bar Harbor, Maine, USA

Week 1: June 21 to 27, 2015 
Spatial Ontologies for e-Science

Week 2: June 29 to July 3, 2015 
Advancing Geographic Information Science: The Past and Next Twenty Years

Twenty-Year Anniversary of the International Early Career Scholars Institutes in GIScience

VenueCollege of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine


Week 1: Spatial Ontologies for e-Science

Ben Harbor, Maine, USA, June 21 to 27, 2015 


Location often acts as an integrator in science, bringing together perspectives across multiple disciplines and scales. For example, health scientists increasingly focus on where patients spend their time, pulling a large variety of environmental and social data into their analyses. With big data and e-science, this trend has accelerated and gets increasingly supported through knowledge infrastructures and associated ontologies. Yet, it is often unclear how knowledge about location and other spatial properties should best be captured, and there is only a very limited choice of spatial ontologies. This Vespucci Institute will ask why this is so and why there seems to have been so little progress over the past decade. It will push the frontiers on spatial ontologies for e-science by

  • identifying the gaps between the spatial ontologies that the e-science community needs and what is currently available from the ontology community;
  • addressing key gaps through hands-on ontology design on site;
  • discussing the impact of Linked Open Data on e-science and the role of space in this context;
  • collecting criteria and techniques for evaluating spatial ontologies in e-science;
  • broadening the discussion of ontology quality and ontology applications;
  • learning to separate approaches that work from those that do not;
  • reviewing the work of relevant standards organizations like W3C and OGC;
  • seeking insight on what needs to complement location to meet e-science needs (time?, feature?, event?, process? granularity?).

Participants from all sectors of e-science, ontology engineering, and geospatial as well as other spatial sciences are invited to interact from June 22 to 26, 2015, in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine. As always, the Vespucci Institute will challenge the state of the art through lively discussions and hands-on problem solving rather than lengthy presentations.



Week 2: Advancing Geographic Information Science: The Past and Next Twenty Years

Ben Harbor, Maine, USA, June 29 to July 3, 2015 


Twenty-year anniversaries are approaching for the International Early-Career Scholars Summer Institutes in Geographic Information. These were jointly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the European Science Foundation (ESF) and included a Summer Institute in Wolfe’s Neck Maine in 1995 and a Summer Institute at Villa Borsig in Berlin Germany in 1996. Participants in those past institutes invite a new generation of early career scholars in GIScience to join with us in an anniversary institute.

NCGIA-Maine, Buffalo and Santa Barbara co-hosted a 2015 Vespucci Institute to review the research challenges of the past twenty years and discuss emerging fundamental challenges of the next twenty. The continuing Vespucci Institutes arose from and have been modeled after the successful institutes held in 1995 and 1996. 

Similar to the original institutes, we engaged approximately fifty GIScience scholars split evenly between early-career and senior scholars. Early-career scholars (senior graduate students and those within five years after acquiring the doctorate degree) were solicited on a competitive basis. Senior scholars invited.