Representations of Space and Time

Donna J. Peuquet

June 20, 2002
ISBN 9781572307735
Price: $59.00 $50.15
380 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

Recent advances in information technology have enabled scientists to generate unprecedented amounts of earth-related data, with tremendous potential for dealing with pressing social, economic, and environmental issues. Yet the volume and heterogeneity of available data clearly overwhelm traditional analytical approaches, as well as the human capacity to derive patterns and useful insights. This book examines how geospatial knowledge can be analyzed and represented in a manner that not only is accurate and coherent, but also makes intuitive sense to the end user. Integrating concepts and approaches from geography, computer science, cognitive psychology, and philosophy, Donna J. Peuquet explores the processes by which people acquire, represent, and utilize spatiotemporal knowledge. Arguing that the human user and the computer must be viewed as interrelated components of a single system, she provides principles and recommendations for improving the design of geographic information systems (GIS) and other geospatial modeling tools. An ideal student text or professional reference, this book fills a crucial need in geographic information science.

“This book is unique in capturing a full range of topics about managing geographic information in principle and practice. It examines how space and time have been understood from the Classical era to the present day, tracing the development of scientific methodologies and probing key epistemological and philosophical questions. A comprehensive review of computational approaches for handling space and time in computer data modeling brings these concepts down to earth. This book will be a useful reference for advanced GIS students as well as professionals who manage databases incorporating both space and time.”

—Barbara P. Buttenfield, PhD, Department of Geography, University of Colorado - Boulder

“Donna Peuquet has produced a true tour de force. This book provides an essential foundation for the developing field of geographic information science. It offers an authoritative review of the history of human ideas about the nature of space and time, their roles in human cognition, and their representation in contemporary databases. It will make an ideal text for graduate and senior undergraduate seminars in geographic information science or geographic information systems, and more broadly, for seminars in fields from geographic thought to spatial cognition. Here at last is a book that links the new science of geographic information, born of the computer revolution, to the long tradition of human thought about space and time.”

—Michael F. Goodchild, PhD, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis and Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Most GIS represent the world using data models derived from static maps. This has been useful for some applications, but future progress needs richer models that represent space and time in ways that better relate to our own experiences. In this fascinating book, Donna Peuquet provides a timely and authoritative review of the issues involved. This long-overdue book should be read by anyone who has a real concern for the future of GIS.”

—David Unwin, Professor of Geography, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Representation versus Reality

3. Acquiring World Knowledge: The Overall Process

4. Storing World Knowledge: Some Elements of Conceptual Structure

5. Acquiring World Knowledge through Direct Experience

6. From Observation to Understanding

7. Acquiring Geographic Knowledge through Indirect Experience

8. How Spatial Knowledge Is Encoded


Introduction to Part II: New Tools, New Opportunities

9. The Computer as Medium

10. Storing Geographic Data

11. A New Perspective for Geographic Database Representation

12. Interacting with Databases

13. Issues for Implementing Advanced Geographic Databases

14. Epilogue: Moving Forward


Geography students, researchers, and professionals; others who deal with geographic information in their work.

Serves as a text in advanced courses on models of geographic space, geographic cognition, and spatial/geographic data models.

Course Use

Serves as a text in advanced courses on models of geographic space, geographic cognition, and spatial/geographic data models.