Geographical Analysis

From Spatial Analysis to Geospatial Science

Journal Article

When Spatial Analysis was published in 1968, it drew together the fruits of the first decade of geography's quantitative revolution. In the decades that have followed, quantitative geography has both diffused and concentrated, abandoned some themes, made major progress on others, and in the contemporary form of geospatial analysis has become an innovative multidisciplinary enterprise. In this article, we sketch the broad outlines of this history, lay out the main threads along which technical capabilities have developed, and describe what appear to us to be the leading questions at the research frontier. Even as many geographers disavow social science, geospatial science has emerged as a lusty arena marked by intellectual vigor, conceptual growth, and enhanced analytic abilities. What now is taking shape is a spatially integrated social–environmental science that is transcending older disciplinary attachments, boundaries, and constraints.

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