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Introduction to GIS&T BoK2.0

The GIS&T Body of Knowledge, first published in 2006, is intended as a reference and curricula guide for the vast and ever-expanding field of geographic information science and technology. It is organized into knowledge areas, each with constituent units and lists of topics. Please refer to the BoK for more details on its background, purpose and content.

Collaborative Feedback from the CyberGIS Team

Currently, efforts to revise the BoK are underway and follow a two-part strategy: 1. Evaluating the importance and relevance of the existing material, 2. Suggesting new and/or refined content. Two surveys have been developed for this purpose and are described and available here on the UCGIS website.

While all CyberGIS team members are encouraged to fill out these surveys individually if they like, this Wiki page is intended to support a group dialog about knowledge areas, units and topics through the lens of CyberGIS. To support the transfer of the results of this dialog to the BoK2.0 steering committee, it is structured in a similar way to the surveys. Please contribute topics that you think need to be evaluated by the team, and/or go ahead and provide your detailed input on topics that need to be revised and/or topics that needs to be added.

Topics that may need attention

Add your ideas HERE about topics that need to be reviewed, or go ahead an provide detailed input in the sections below.
Use the following format:
Your Name: BoK Area (Knowledge, Unit or Topic) - reason you think it needs to be reviewed

Mary:  The entire Knowledge Area: Geocomputation (GC) likely needs to be reviewed as well as Analytical Methods, Data Modeling, and Data Manipulation, but I just listed a few specific areas below based on recent publications.

1. Unit: GC5 Genetic algorithms (GA) - See Liu, Y.Y. and Wang, S. 2014. “A Scalable Parallel Genetic Algorithm for the Generalized Assignment Problem.” Parallel Computing, accepted. The topics in this unit likely need to be expanded to include Liu et al.'s findings.

2. Knowledge Area: Data Modeling (DM) & Knowledge Area: Data Manipulation (DN) - See Padmanabhan, A., Wang, S., Cao, G., Hwang, M., Zhang, Z., Gao, Y., Soltani, K., and Liu, Y.Y. 2014. “FluMapper: A CyberGIS Application for Interactive Analysis of Massive Location-based Social Media.” Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, accepted. Location-based services (LBS) are treated as a type of spatial data model in this knowledge area. How has the FluMapper app expanded our understanding of working with LBS?
See also Hwang, M., Wang, S., Cao, G., Padmanabhan, A., Zhang, Z. 2013. “Spatiotemporal Transformation of Social Media Geostreams: A Case Study of Twitter for Flu Risk Analysis.” In: Proceedings of the 4th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on GeoStreaming (IWGS), November 5 2013, Orlando, Florida, USA.
See specifically:
Unit DM1 Basic storage and retrieval structures
sdf Unit DM4 Vector and object data models
Unit DM5 Modeling 3-D, temporal, and uncertain phenomena
Unit DN2 Generalization and aggregation

3. Unit GC6 Agent-based models - See Shook, E., Wang, S., and Tang, W. “A Communication-Aware Framework for Parallel Spatially Explicit Agent-Based Models.” International Journal of Geographical Information Science, DOI:10.1080/13658816.2013.771740. Several topics in this unit likely need to be expanded based on Shook et al.'s parallel AMB research.

Junjun: The research into geo-tagged social media contents is raising its popularity in very recent years, and because its "BIG DATA" nature, its topics varies and can fit in many categories of the BoK. CyberGIS is an ideal platform for contributing to such research topics:
1. Unit: CF4 Elements of geographic information- For example, CF4-2: Events and Processes, the Flumapper project: Padmanabhan,, 2014. FluMapper: A CyberGIS Application for Interactive Analysis of Massive Location-based Social Media. and Wang, 2013. A CyberGIS Environment for Analysis of Location-Based Social Media Data. Advanced Location-Based Technologies and Services 2nd. Hassan A. Karimi. CRC. 187.

2. Unit: CF5 Relationships- e.g. CF5-6 Spatial distribution: this is related to research on human mobility using social media messages as proxy. In term of publications, Flumapper is an example, but there will be more papers to be added

3. Unit: DM1 Basic Storage and retrival sturctures- e.g. Key-Value based NOSQL databases, Map-Reduce approach using Hadoop (In particular, SpatialHadoop) for procssing geographic entities. Papers, e.g., Hwang, 2013. Spatiotemporal Transformation of Social Media Geostreams: A Case Study of Twitter for Flu Risk Analysis. In: Proceedings of the 4th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on GeoStreaming (IWGS), November 5 2013, Orlando, Florida, USA

Importance and Relevance of Existing Material

The current BoK has 329 topics, organized across the ten knowledge areas as follows:

  • AM Analytical Methods (12 units; 59 topics)
  • CF Conceptual Foundations (6 units; 30 topics)
  • CV Cartography & Visualization (6 units; 27 topics)
  • DA Design Aspects (5 units; 32 topics)
  • DM Data Modeling (3 units; 23 topics)
  • DN Data Manipulation (3 units; 14 topics)
  • GC Geocomputation (9 units; 40 topics)
  • GD Geospatial Data (12 units; 47 topics)
  • GS GIS&T and Society (7 units; 25 topics)
  • OI Organizational and Institutional Aspects (6 units; 32 topics)


The survey either takes you through all 329 topics or selects a random group of 60. In our case, we can self-select which topics we want to discuss (the survey allows this too, but you have to click through all of the topics to find what you want to comment upon). For whatever topics you wish, please include the following information:
0. Your name (you may also add your name to someone else's description if you agree)
1. Topic name, for example "AM1-1 Academic foundations"
2. Rate the importance of topic within GIS&T in 2014: 5 point scale (1-5, low to high relevance or 0 for 'No longer relevant')
3. Rate the description of topic: needs rewriting, needs updating, satisfactory as written, superb as written

Add Your Topic Ratings HERE

New and/or Refined Content

While existing knowledge areas such as 'Analytical Methods', 'Data Manipulation', 'Geocomputation', etc... likely include some topics still relevant to CyberGIS, new topics surely have emerged since 2006. Use the section below to detail these, following the format used in the UCGIS survey.


Please search the BoK first to make sure that your suggestion is not already included, or is, in fact, a revision. Then provide the following:
0. Your name (you may also add your name to someone else's description if you agree)
1. Proposed topic name (include associated knowledge area, or specify new knowledge area), or current name of refined topic, followed by 'Refined'
NOTE: While the survey is intended for refined content as well, it does not provide specific instructions for doing this. If 'Refined', then just make changes to any of the following that you feel are needed.
2. 2-8 bullets that describe topic (240 word maximum)
3. 4-6 topics that are prerequisites for this new topic
4. 4-6 topics for which the newly proposed topic would serve as a prerequisite
5. 4-6 examples of sample software tools, if appropriate
6. 4-6 key references to support this new topic, if appropriate

Click here to see a sample entry for the topic of digital terrain modeling.

Add Your New/Refined Content HERE

Request for Feedback Status

Name BoK Suggested Focus Changes Needed (Y/N) Details Done (Y/N)
WenWen Topics AM9-1 Principles of spatial econometrics
AM7-3 The spatial weights matrix
Y "may add edits" N (details requested)
Serge Unit AM9 Spatial regression and econometrics N N/A Y
Choonhan/Chris Crosby Unit AM6 Analysis of Surfaces Y The 'Analysis of Surfaces' section seems ok, but it is lacking anything about change in surfaces or caparison between surfaces. N (details requested)
Mike Knowledge Area Data Manipulation Y add reference
Usery, E. Lynn, Michael P. Finn, and Michael Starbuck (2009). Data Layer Integration for The National Map of the United States. Cartographic Perspectives, Number 62, Winter 2009, pages 28-41
Yan/Shaowen Unit GC5 Genetic algorithms waiting N
JunJun Units CF4 Elements of geographic information
CF5 Relationships
DM1 Basic Storage and retrieval stuctures
Y see above N (details requested)
Eric Units GC6 Agent-based models Y "I would like to add at least one statement related to model complexity / number of simulations for sensitivity analysis and computation that may touch on parallelism. Otherwise for education purposes I think the BoK for ABM is probably sufficient since it is so high level." N (details requested)