Talking Space — A Social & Fuzzy Logical GIS Perspective On Modelling Spatial Dynamics

  • Susanne Kratochwil
  • Josef Benedikt


Talking Space is drafted as a GIS-based communication platform to map spatial knowledge, which contains inherent uncertainty. This uncertainty is argued to be due to the semantics of categorization using linguistic symbols as applied in a communication process, which is argued to create and shape space and spatial phenomena. Inherent uncertainty is nothing to be eliminated but is an indispensable part in communicating (spatial or non-spatial) knowledge and therefore needs to be talked about. Space is shaped in a deterministic and objective way — yet, in all probability, this overlooks the perceptions, assessments and interests of many space protagonists. The formation and information of actors in space implies relations among different points of view. Perception and assessment of space is understood inadequately. Conventional planning and GIS do not meet requirements on communicating space. GIS is sometimes even referred to as socially empty space. This emptiness may be filled with our ability to talk about space, to perceive space and talk about perceptions and to visualize what we are talking about. This paper is proposing perspectives on different notions of spatial phenomena and their impact on creating spatial knowledge while limiting ourselves to the logical and techno-logical requirements of GIS. Alternative views on spatial categories and their contribution to communication in space are introduced. Three settings are used to develop our perspectives with respect to a Talking Space. An Introduction (A) focuses on challenges of visualizing relations among individual perspectives in space, which is shaped and constructed by social actors. Social as well as cognitive differences among social actors in geographical space are at the core of a Talking Space Development. In Communicating Spatial Knowledge (B) theoretical foundations are introduced, which are necessary in a Talking Space to draft social perspectives on constructing space. It deems necessary to open up the notion of space to Social Science in enabling all actors in space to comprehend spatial phenomena. Theoretical issues on constructing space are discussed. The third setting describes implications of the perspectives introduced in (A) and (B) to a Talking Space Environment (C). This kind of environment will be discussed as a framework of symbols, models and codes addressing social construction, logical proceedings and visual engagements, respectively. Examples using the notion of a Meeting Point and the modeling of noise are used to support the arguments.


Spatial Planning Spatial Knowledge Shaping Space Spatial Decision Support System Spatial Phenomenon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Benedikt J, Kratochwil S (2002) “Die Wirklichkeit der Raumplanung. Werkzeuge für ein neues Raumverständnis”, CORP 2002, 7th International Symposium on Information Technology in Urban and Spatial Planning and Impacts of ICT on Physical Space, Vienna University of Technology, in: CORP 2002, Vienna, pp. 207–213Google Scholar
  2. Benedikt J, Reinberg S, and Riedl L (2002) “A GIS application to enhance cell-based information modeling”, in: Information Sciences 142 (2002) pp.151–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benedikt J, Riedl L, and Reinberg S (1999) “Sprechen Sie Geographie? — Operationalisierung natürlich-sprachlicher geographischer Konzepte mit visuellsprachlichen EDV-Werkzeugen”, in: Strobl, Plaschke (Eds.): “Angewandte Geographische Informationsverarbeitung XI”, Wichmann Verlag, Heidelberg, pp. 23–33Google Scholar
  4. Benko G, Strohmayer (Eds., 1997) “Space and Social Theory. Interpreting Modernity and Postmodernity”; Blackwell Publisher Ltd., Oxford, UK, 1997Google Scholar
  5. Black M (1937) “Vagueness. An exercise in Logical Analysis”; Philosophy of Science, pp.427–455; 1937Google Scholar
  6. Blumer H (1969) “Symbolic Interactionism. Perspective and Method”; University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1986Google Scholar
  7. Bourdieu P (1982) “Die feinen Unterschiede. Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft”; Frankfurt am Main: SuhrkampGoogle Scholar
  8. Casey L, Pederson T (1995) “Urbanizing GIS: Philadelphia’s Strategy to Bring GIS to Neighborhood Planning”; in: Proceedings of the 1995 ESRI International User Conference, ESRI Press, CA, USA. online: Scholar
  9. Crang M, Thrift N (Eds., 2000) “thinking space”, London: Routledge Descartes Online Help; Scholar
  10. Dodge M, Kitchin R (2001) Atlas of Cyberspace. Addison Wesley 2001, 286 ppGoogle Scholar
  11. Engeli M (Eds., 2001) “bits and spaces. Architecture and Computing for Physical, Virtual, Hybrid Realms. 33 Projects by Architecture and CAAD, ETH Zürich”, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Boston, Berlin, 2001Google Scholar
  12. Erwig M, Schneider M (1997) “Vague Regions”, in: Proceedings of the 5th Int. Symposium On Advances in Spatial Databases (SSD’97), LNCS 1262, pp.298–320Google Scholar
  13. Fabrikant SI, Buttenfield BP (2001) “Formalizing Semantic Spaces For Information Access”; Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 91(2), Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001Google Scholar
  14. Flusser V (1999) “Die Stadt als Wellental in der Bilderflut” in “Auf dem Weg zur telematischen Informationsgesellschaft”, in Medienkultur, Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1999Google Scholar
  15. Foerster Hv (1991a) “Ethics and Second-Order-Cybernetics”; Opening Address for the International Conference, Systems and Family Therapy: Ethics, Epistemology, New Methods, Paris, October 1991;–2/text/foerster.html (last accessed 26.08.1999)Google Scholar
  16. Foerster Hv (1997) “Wissen und Gewissen: Versuch einer Brücke.”, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Verlag Wissenschaft (876), Frankfurt am Main, 1993Google Scholar
  17. Foerster Hv (1999) “Sicht und Einsicht. Versuche zu einer operativen Erkenntnistheorie”, Reihe: Konstruktivismus und systemisches Denken, Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag, Heidelberg, 1999Google Scholar
  18. Frank AU, Kuhn W (Eds., 1995) “Spatial Information Theory: A Theoretical Basis for GIS (COSIT 1995)”; Vol. 988, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Berlin: Springer VerlagGoogle Scholar
  19. Gadamer HG (1976) “Philosophical Hermeneutics”; California: University of California PressGoogle Scholar
  20. Golledge RG (1995) “Primitives of Spatial Knowledge”; in Nyerges et al. (1995); cit. in Fabrikant, Buttenfield (2001:268)Google Scholar
  21. Golledge RG, Stimson RJ (1997) “Spatial Behavior: A Geographic Perspective”, New York: Harper & Row, 1997; cit in Fabrikant, S.I. & Buttenfield, B.P. (2001)Google Scholar
  22. Harvey D (1990) “The Condition of Postmodernity”, Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Hocevar A, Riedl L (2003) “Vergleich verschiedener multikriterieller Berwertungsverfahren mit MapModels”; available online only: Scholar
  24. Jiang, H., Eastman, J.R. (2000): “Application of fuzzy measures in multi-criteria evaluation in GIS” in: Int. Journal of Geographic Information Science 2000, Vol.14, No.2., pp. 173–184Google Scholar
  25. Klare J, Van Swaaij L (2000) “Atlas der Erlebniswelten”, Eichborn Verlag. 2000Google Scholar
  26. Klir GJ, Folger T (1988) “Fuzzy Sets, Uncertainty and Information”; Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1988Google Scholar
  27. Knorr-Cetina KD (1981) “The Manufacture of Knowledge: A Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science”; Oxford: Pergamon PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Kratochwil S, Benedikt J (2000) “Blind Date — Dimensions of a Rendezvous”, 23rd International Wittgenstein Symposium: “Rationality and Irrationality”; in: Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, Volume VIII(1), Berit Brogaard (Eds.), Kirchberg am Wechsel, 2000Google Scholar
  29. Kratochwil S (2001a) “Raumkybernetik. (0/0/0).(0/0/1).(0/1/0).(1/0/0).(0/0/0)”, (Space & Cybernetic) Doctoral Thesis, Faculty for Spatial Planning and Architecture, Vienna University of Technology, 2001Google Scholar
  30. Kratochwil S (2001b) “Epistemische Raum(ver)suche — zwischen Wissensmanagement und Raumplanung”, Master Thesis (Library and Information Science), Zentrum für Informationsmanagement und Technische Dokumentation, Donau-Universität Krems, 2001Google Scholar
  31. MacEachren AM (1995) “How maps work: representation, visualization, and design”; New York: The Guilford Press, 1995Google Scholar
  32. Maturana HR, Varela FJ (1980) “Autopoiesis and Cognition”; Reidel, Dordrecht Medyckyi-Scott D, Hearnshaw HM (eds., 1993) “Human Factors in Geographical Information Systems”; London: Belhaven PressGoogle Scholar
  33. Narayanan N, Hübscher R (1998) “Visual Language Theory: Towards a Human-Computer Interaction Perspective”, in: Marriott, Meyer (Eds.): “Visual Language Theory”, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1998Google Scholar
  34. North FJ (1933) “Maps, their history and uses, with special reference to Wales”, Cardiff, 1933; (last accessed 17.08.2003); “Definitions of the word map, 1649–1996Google Scholar
  35. Nyerges et al. (1995) “Cognitive Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction for Geographic Information Systems”; Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic PublishersGoogle Scholar
  36. Polanyi M (1958) “Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy”; London: Routledge, 1958Google Scholar
  37. Riedl L, Kalasek R (1998) “MapModels-Programmieren mit Datenflußgraphen” in: Strobl / Dollinger (Eds., 1998) Angewandte Geographische Informationsverarbeitung: Beiträge zum achten AGIT-Symposium Salzburg 1998, Wichmann, Heidelberg, S.279–288Google Scholar
  38. Riedl L; Vacik H, Kalasek R (2000) “MapModels: A new approach for spatial suport in silvicultural decision making”, Poster presented at the International Conference “The application of scientific knowledge to decision making in managing forest ecosystems”, 3.–7. May 1999, Asheville, NC, USA, extended abstract in: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, Vol. 27, pp 407–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shields R (1997) “Spatial Stress and Resistance: Social Meanings of Spatialization”; in Benko, G. & Strohmayer (Eds., 1997)Google Scholar
  40. Skupin A, Buttenfield BP (1997) “Spatial Metaphors for Display of Information Science”; Proceedings, AUTO-CARTO 13, April 1997, Seattle, WA; cit. in Fabrikant, Buttenfield (2001)Google Scholar
  41. Spies M (1993) “Unsicheres Wissen”; Spektrum Akademischer Verlag GesmbH, Heidelberg 1993Google Scholar
  42. Spies M (1994) “Repräsentation unsicheren Wissens”, in-Best, H. et al (Eds., 1994): “Informations-und Wissensverarbeitung in den Sozialwissenschaften. Beiträge zur Umsetzung neuer Informationstechnologien”, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen, 1994Google Scholar
  43. Stanitzek W, Vosskamp W (Eds./2001) “Schnittstelle. Medien und kulturelle Kommunikation”, DuMont Buchverlag, Köln, 2001Google Scholar
  44. UCGIS (University Consortium for Geographic Information Science) (1996) “Research Priorities for Geographic Information Science”; Cartography and Geographic Information System 23(2); cit. in Fabrikant, Buttenfield (2001)Google Scholar
  45. Varzi AC (2001) “Vagueness in Geography”, in: Philosophy & Geography 4(1), 2001, pp.49–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Verkeyn A, Botteldooren D (2002) “Annoyance Prediction with Fuzzy Rule Bases”, in-Da Ruan et al. (Eds., 2002): “Computational Intelligent Systems for Applied Research”, Proceedings of the 5th International FLINS Conference, World Scientific, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  47. Willke H (1998) “Systemisches Wissensmanagement”, Lucius & Lucius Verlagsgesellschaft, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  48. Yager RR (eds., 1987) “Fuzzy Sets and Applications”, selected papers by L. A. Zadeh; John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1987Google Scholar
  49. Yager RR (1988) “On Ordered Weighted Averaging Aggregation Operations in Multicrietria Decision Making”; in-IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 8(1) 1988, pp.183–190Google Scholar
  50. Zadeh LA (1965) “Fuzzy Sets”, Information and Control 8, pp.338–353, 1965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zukin S (1995) “The Cultures of Cities”, Oxford: BlackwellGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Kratochwil
    • 1
  • Josef Benedikt
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Sociology in Spatial Planning and Architecture (ISRA)Vienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria
  2. 2.GEOLOGIC Dr. BenediktViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations