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Order from noise: Toward a social theory of geographic information

Annals of the Association of American Geographers

By:
,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.2006.00703.x

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Abstract

In the so-called Information Age, it is surprising that the concept of information is imprecisely defined and almost taken for granted. Historic and recent geographic information science (GIScience) literature relies on two conflicting metaphors, often espoused by the same author in adjacent paragraphs. The metaphor of invariance, derived from telecommunications engineering, defines information as a thing to be transported without loss through a conduit. Another metaphor, originating in the utopian movements of the 19th century, locates information within a hierarchy of refinement-a stopping place on the path to convert mere data into higher forms of knowledge and perhaps to wisdom. Both metaphors rely on long-forgotten debates outside geography and preclude us from seeing that there are important social and ethical concerns in the relationship between geographic information technologies and society. We examine the conflicts between competing metaphors and propose a social theory of geographic information. ?? 2006 by Association of American Geographers.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Order from noise: Toward a social theory of geographic information
Series title:
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
DOI:
10.1111/j.1467-8306.2006.00703.x
Volume
96
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2006
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
508
Last page:
523
Number of Pages:
16