GGS Faculty Dr. Nigel Waters gives Keynote Address at the ‘Spatial Knowledge and Information’ conference in Banff, Alberta. (Website link: http://rose.geog.mcgill.ca/ski/program2014)
Title: Research thoughts from George Mason University’s GIS Center of Excellence (plus some advice on surviving graduate school)
Abstract: This talk will provide a retrospective following the completion of a number of research projects at George Mason University. First, it will consider how crowd-sourced VGI can be used to supplement the frustrations and limitations of using authoritative data to mitigate the effects of natural disasters (research funded by the US Federal Department of Transportation). Second, it will describe research to improve the allocation of the US liver transplantation system (funded by the National Institutes of Health). Third, it will describe the various initiatives that led to the construction of the GIS Body of Knowledge. This will be supplemented by an account of my involvement with the US University Consortium on Geographic Information Science’s proposal to develop the Body of Knowledge 2.0. Fourth, it will discuss theoretical aspects of social networks and consider whether spatial is special when it is social (surprisingly, it often is), what is wrong with past research into the structure of the internet and why existing theoretical foundations into the scalability of the internet are difficult or impossible to interpret. This discussion will conclude with a proposal for a Second Law of Geography. The talk will finish with advice to graduate students.