Evolving GIScience

Professor Pete Fisher
Professor Pete Fisher
A celebration of the life and work of Peter Fisher

14th & 15th July 2015, University of Leicester, UK

Programme and Registration details are below.


The main motivation of the workshop is to celebrate Pete Fisher’s professional life which had 3 strong foci: research, publication and education. As well as reflecting on his contribution we would also like to use some of his ideas to help us consider our progress in the discipline of GIScience and where we go next.

In his research, Pete's central concern was the disconnect between the "thing" (the object, behaviour or process) and how we represent it. Consideration of the nature of the pixel and location of geographic features led him into interesting areas, including geoslavery (whose voice matters), uncertainty and fuzzy sets (what are the characteristics of the thing) and conceptualisation (how do we represent space and place). Pete posed some big questions; ten years ago he asked Where is Helvellyn? are we any closer to an answer?

  • Which of the questions Pete posed are answered or answerable and which continue to elude us?

As editor of IGJIS Pete oversaw the transition from GISystem to GIScience. One of the workshop aims is to consider the degree to which GIScience continues to progress and innovate.

  • How has GIScience changed since 1996 and have we responded to big data, virtual communities and volunteered geographies?

As an educator he was a mentor to many, an excellent teacher and he was intensely interested in concepts and principles. Important questions are being raised as other disciplines are reinventing 'digital geography' all around us: what should the GI academic community be teaching, how, when and to whom? Do we need GI courses? Are we being side-lined? If so, do we need to admit it and re-think GI education?

  • How should the GIScience community be contributing to GIEducation?

Finally, the only well-known law in geography is Tobler’s “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things” and Arbia and Espa’s less well known corollary para-phrased as “things looked at a coarse scale seem more similar than when looked at a fine scale”. Maybe, we shouldn’t exhibit 'physics envy’ and dream of laws, but, is it possible to identify some principles that are in the spirit of Pete's contributions to GIScience.

  • What are some Fisher inspired principles of GIScience in the areas of Representation, Uncertainty, Semantics, Education and Visualization?

We invite everyone to come up with principles based on Pete's work. We hope your contributions will act as a focus for discussion throughout the two days and perhaps we will end up with something substantive. There are processes that will help this work; some may involve beer.

Lex Comber, Jason Dykes & Richard Wadsworth, May 2015



With so much content, so many people and so much ambition(!), we’ve decided to do things a bit differently, and in that spirit please note that:

  • Sessions are short (1hour max)
  • Talks are short, (15 minutes except the keynote)
  • Coffee breaks are long
  • Lunches are long

Day 1


Arrival, registration and Buffet Lunch

Chat & discussions; participants to contribute their ideas on a range of Fisher related topics and Fisher-inspired principles based on the Pre-amble above. This information will inform later activities.

Welcome and Keynote

Introduction: UoLeicester staff

Keynote: Prof Mike Batty Reflecting on 28 years of GI Science
14:30 Break

Session 1 Representation: Meaning

Ola Ahlqvist Semantic Accuracy - 20 years after Salgé (1995)

Chris Jones Spatial natural language generation for captioning geo-referenced photos

May Yuan From Spatial Analysis to Placial Analysis

Jason Dykes Eschew Obfuscation
16:00 Break

Session 2 Representation: Objects, Pixels & Fuzziness

Mike Worboys Some vagaries about vagueness

Geoff Smith & Paul Aplin Objects a snare or delusion

Hugo Costa, Giles Foody & Doreen Boyd The object - not a solution to the snare of the pixel

Tao Cheng ­Type-n fuzziness and spatio-temporal analytics
17:30 Beer break

Progress Activity: Where is Helvellyn? Where are we? Where do we go next?

David O’Sullivan & Dave Unwin with help from others (tbc)

  • How has GIScience changed since 1996 and what are the important new research directions?
  • How should the GIScience community be contributing to GIEducation?
There will be some opening statements followed by discussion
19:00 Beer Break
19:30 Dinner


Day 2


Session 3 Space & Time

David Martin Modelling populations 24/7 with open data

Peter Atkinson Downscaling techniques in remote sensing

Heiko Balzter Geographic analysis of temporal scaling in space time data

Vanessa da Silva Brum Bastos, Jed A. Long & Urška Demšar New methodological approaches for cross scale integration of environmental remotely sensed data with spatio temporal movement data
10:00 Break

Session 4 Topography & Visualisation

Juha Oksanen Uncertainty aware catchment delineation finally possible for interactive analysis and country wide DEMs

Claire Burwell Virtual reality in remote-sensing: exploiting 3D for Point Cloud Classification

Brian G Lees & Shawn Laffan Links between topographic attributes and geology

Francis Harvey Visualization in GIScience
11:30 Break

Session 5 Analysis & Science

Chris Brunsdon Spatial Issues in Fuzzy Data Analysis

David Maguire GI Science and Systems revisited
12:30 Lunch

Developing GIScience Principles

Mike Worboys and David Maguire with help from others (tbc):

  • What are some Fisher inspired principles of GIScience in the areas of Representation, Uncertainty, Semantics, Education and Visualization?
There will be some opening statements followed by discussion
15:00 Depart


Registration and Booking

Registration and bookings can be made via shop@le

  • Full rate £135 - includes lunch & dinner on 14th, breakfast & lunch on the 15th, 1 night accommodation, tea/coffee breaks, en-suite accommodation, parking.
  • Junior researcher rate £50 as above - details of how to purchase on request.
  • Day Rate: £35 per day - includes lunch and dinner on 14th July and breakfast and lunch on the 15th, with tea/coffee breaks, parking.

Location and Travel Details: see http://collegecourt.co.uk/sites/default/files/brochures/college-court-travel-leaflet.pdf


Local organising committee:

Claire Smith (cls53@le.ac.uk),  Claire Jarvis (chj2@le.ac.uk), Heiko Balzter (hb91@le.ac.uk), Kirsten Barrett (kb308@le.ac.uk), Nick Tate (njt9@le.ac.uk), Kevin Tansey (kjt7@le.ac.uk), Lex Comber (ajc36@le.ac.uk)

This event is supported by Taylor & Francis, Royal Geographical Society with the IBG, Ordnance Survey, Clark Labs/IDRISI and ESRI UK.

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Supported by Taylor & Francis, Royal Geographical SoUK.

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