Neogeography is not GIS, not LI

By Joe Francica

Last week, we had many comments on a statement that Mike Hickey, president of Pitney Bowes Software, made at Korem's Geodiffusion event in Montreal. Hickey's key point was that "the explosion of neogeography is driving awareness [and] collaborative data consolidation. Hickey explained that while neogeography is focused on "where," there is no data creation and no spatial analysis. Hickey explained that neogeography is a visualization tool that has helped "cross the chasm from early adopters to an early majority." Read all of the comments associated with this discussion.

Here we present the points of view from others. Read all of the comments in their entirety.

It's essentially just repurposing of existing content. In many cases, creative and innovative - though not always. And in some cases, unique new perspective is created by leveraging prior investments and data content. But at the end of the day, the old maxim still holds, "content is king."
- Dave Smith

I don't see how you can say that there is no data creation in neogeography, when creation of "crowd sourced" or community generated data is one of the hottest trends in the industry at the moment. See my recent post on OpenStreetMap for just one of many examples. And there are many interesting things going on in terms of analysis outside the traditional GIS area, for example what FortiusOne is doing with GeoCommons.
- Peter Batty

Neogeography is part of the wider spatial landscape. I would argue that through finding beer stores, locating swimming pools, determining where to find low or high paid workers, which are some of the neogeography applications etc. is in fact building spatial literacy at a fantastic pace.
- Jeff Thurston

Seems to me the innovation investments now driving geographical awareness comes from advertisement and not licensing and relicensing and support fees and up-date fees and data fees and more support fees and ding-you-again and again fees and...
- Neil Havermale

The confusion comes from the definition and meaning of neogeography. More than a specific technology (mashups, virtual globes), it is rather a new approach of geography. One thing for sure, neogeo is not a substitute of GIS, not even a threat... Neogeo is not a good or a bad thing, it is just there and we'd better get used to it.
- Riallant David

There is no doubt that "neogeography" is raising the awareness of the value of location in a much broader community than ever before. And lots of great ideas are being discussed, tested, and so forth… However, as a professional geographer, I have a hard time understanding why we need the term "neogeography." Sure, there are new, creative ideas and implementations related to the use of digital location… Lightweight protocols and expressions of location exist in some of the earliest internet standards. Internet/Web deployed applications that use "geo" have been around - with "geo" either being core or just an attribute - since 1993.
- Carl Reed

As a professional geographer I'll reply that the difference is the other 99% of the world is paying attention now. While the GIS world has made several innovations in the past, the vast majority of the world either did not know or care.
- Sean Gorman

Published Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Written by Joe Francica

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