Mapping the (un)measurable – knowledge through spatial integration
Global challenges require an advanced spatial and integrated understanding of potential harm. To measure, monitor and represent the constantly increasing complexity of environmental and societal processes, innovative methods are needed which consider true spatial characteristics, as well as quantitative and qualitative notions.
The research area “‘integrated spatial indicators” (ISI) develops methods to spatially represent multi-dimensional and complex phenomena at different spatial and temporal scale levels. The aim is to develop new indicator-based approaches which consider true spatial distributions, are hierarchical and decomposable, but also provide an integrated view of a specific phenomenon. ISI builds on new and established concepts in GIScience, such as object-based analysis, composite indicator development as well as spatial statistics and analysis. Benefits will arise from a new way of approaching multi-faceted challenges in the context of disaster risk reduction, public health, landscape ecology and quality of life. Building on, but not limited to these application domains, it will provide decision makers with relevant tools to tackle the “big picture” rather than looking at isolated aspects only. Current and future activities create a sound conceptual approach for integrated spatial indicators, enhance associated workflows and tools, and develop concepts for visual and cartographic exploration.
We define geons as spatial objects, which are homogenous in terms of varying spatial phenomena under the influence of policy intervention and are generated by scale-specific spatial regionalization of a complex, multidimensional geographical reality incorporating expert knowledge. Integrated geons addresse abstract, yet policy-relevant phenomena.The geon concept abstracts from the level of underlying data sets towards a domain-specific representation by adapting the scale of the constructed geons to that of policy intervention.
- spatial objects, homogenous in terms of varying spatial phenomena under the influence of policy intervention (‘policy-oriented’)
- generated by scale-specific spatial regionalization of a latent, complex, multidimensional geographical reality (non-a priori, expert-based)
- systemic, scale-dependent and hierarchical earth- (or ‘geographical’) holon
- unit that is suited, most appropriate to the given application context, and decomposable
- key reference units for policy-related action
- “As small as necessary, as big as possible”
The concept and method is continously further enhanced and developed and has been transferred to a range of application domains, such as social vulnerability to floods (Austria, Mozambique, Malawi), food insecurity (Malawi), risk and vulnerability to vector-borne diseases in Eastern Africa, poppy risk in Afghanistan etc…
Poster Presentation on Integrated Geons at GIScience 2014 (Vienna)