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Order from noise: Toward a social theory of geographic information

January 1, 2006

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.

Publication Year 2006
Title Order from noise: Toward a social theory of geographic information
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8306.2006.00703.x
Authors B.S. Poore, N.R. Chrisman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Index ID 70028491
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse