The Vespucci Initiative
for the Advancement of Geographic Information in Science
The importance of Amerigo Vespucci as an explorer is recognized by the naming of two continents after him. However, equally important is that he knew he had discovered a New World, based on well founded deductions on the circumference of the earth. By computing a near exact measurement of longitude he revolutionized cosmography, and bridged through knowledge the Old and New Continents. He was a true Renaissance man, with broad multi-disciplinary education, ready to use his intellect and scientific methods to question accepted notions of geography.
Location affects nearly everything we do in life: we choose where to build homes, where to eat, where the nearest hospital is in case of emergency. Companies analyse risks and assign insurance rates, make loans and investments, and build regional offices according to location decisions. Many of these decisions are complicated by society’s increasing desire for mobility while maintaining instant access to information. At the global scale, location is also at the heart of some of the world’s most pressing problems: immigration, poverty and starvation, environmental degradation, crime and security, natural hazards and disasters. Geographic Information Science provides formal tools and methods to represent and analyze these important problems in a controlled (scientifically repeatable) manner. It is therefore critical to the development of the Knowledge Economy and a just Information Society.