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GeoComputation is an emergent paradigm for multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary research that enables the exploration of previously insoluble, extraordinarily intricate problems in geographic context.


As with any revolution in the sciences, the emergence of a new paradigm is hotly debated not just by defenders of the old way but also by its first practitioners. Some see GeoComputation as an incremental development rather than something entirely new. Several doubt that GeoComputation will make any real contribution to the sciences. Others view GeoComputation as a follow-on revolution to GIS.

Openshaw argues GeoComputation is not just using computational techniques to solve spatial problems, but rather a completely new way of doing science in a geographical context.

Just as system dynamics is an approach to modelling strongly interactive, highly dynamic systems such as ecological, population, and economic systems, GeoComputation seeks to investigate these problems in their spatial context. These may be seen as complementary approaches to exploring complex social and environmental problems.


Much information is inherently spatial in nature: the distribution of population, the movement patterns of migratory animals, location of natural resources, crime incidence, the source and areal extent of environmental contamination, the origin and spread of disease, the areal extent of natural disasters, etc. Both geographers and non-geographers have assembled massive amounts of digital information with spatial attributes. This vast and growing collection of spatial data and the extreme complexity of geospatial problems waiting to be explored prompted GeoComputation.

Some uses have already been made of Spatial Decision Support Systems. These are an aid to urban and regional planners in their decision making process.

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