Collaborative Interactions with Geoinformation

Most decision making is the product of collaborative teams. The core challenge in geospatial collaboration is to support such work by means of technologies such as group-enabled geographic information systems, team-based decision support systems, and collaborative geovisualization. Research building on generic effort is needed to understand the basis for collaborative interactions with geoinformation—particularly when access rights and expertise vary widely among team members—and the design principles for making such activities most productive. One problem is that collaborations often take place over large distances. Teleimmersion and other virtual environment technologies must be explored to determine how human-scale “spaces” can be used to deal with geographic-scale problems. It also will be necessary to develop geocollaboration systems that permit participation from field sites, where bandwidth, power, and display capabilities will be highly constrained. Systems to support group decision making will need to simulate the outcomes of alternatives. For this they will require the ability to incorporate knowledge distillation and computational models. In emergency-response situations, these capabilities must be available in real time.


The convergence of advances in location-aware computing, databases and knowledge discovery, and human interaction technologies, combined with the increasing quality and quantity of geospatial information, can transform our world. Diverse technological advances will be needed to attain that goal, and we must marshal the talent and resources needed to achieve those advances. Only by maintaining the long-term view that geospatial information should be made accessible to everyone, everywhere, in appropriate and useful ways, can we exploit the full potential of geospatial information for enriching science and safeguarding society. Computer science has a key role in realizing that vision.

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