On Tuesday, June 6, 2017 The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

Place-based GIS: What’s the big deal?

Werner Kuhn

Center for Spatial Studies
Department of Geography
University of California, Santa Barbara

12:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2017 | 3512 Phelps Hall (map)


Modeling “place” remains a conundrum for spatial computing. Geographic Information Science has discussed requirements and possible approaches for many years, but has not yet produced a convincing solution. In this brief talk, I will present my recent work, together with colleagues at Melbourne University, that sheds new light on the topic. We took the current state of my Core Concepts of Spatial Information (Location, Field, Object, Network, Event) and asked what the simplest possible account for place would be in them that still satisfies the known requirements. The proposed solution (places are a special kind of objects) is now being tested against the requirements stated in the literature. Your feedback and questions will help in this process.


Werner Kuhn holds the Jack and Laura Dangermond Endowed Chair in Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is professor of Geographic Information Science. He is also the director of the Center for Spatial Studies at UCSB. His main research and teaching goal is to make spatial information and computing accessible across domains and disciplines. Before joining UCSB in late 2013, Kuhn was a professor of Geoinformatics at the University of Munster, Germany, where he led MUSIL, an interdisciplinary semantic interoperability research lab. Kuhn is described as a leading expert in the area of geospatial semantics and especially known for his work on Semantic Reference Systems as well as his work on interaction metaphors for Geographic Information Systems. Recent research projects include the Linked Open Data University of Muenster (together with the university library), and a series of EU projects on geospatial services in the semantic web.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.

Please contact Kitty Currier ( to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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ThinkSpatial: Werner Kuhn