Wednesday, December 8, 2010

GeoGames and GeoDesign

The concept of GeoDesign, attributed in large part to Carl Steinitz at Harvard University, has recently been promoted as a framework for a tighter integration of geospatial technology with a design process (Dangermond, 2009). The GeoDesign concept includes at least four elements; Sketching of potential plans and designs, Spatial models that can simulate impacts of proposed designs, Rapid feedback on the effects of any proposed/sketched design, and Iteration through several alternative designs (Koncz, 2010). 

Clearly, a combination of gaming and GIS software has the potential to deliver most if not all of that functionality. This switch to a more design-oriented cartography and its implications for the traditional cartographic process is significant but has been recognized for a while by cartographers. The gaming/modeling approach to design is typically concerned as much about the function of each object in a level/map as they are with appearance and aesthetics. In contrast, a cartographer usually consider already existing objects and abstracts these to an object geometry that only sometimes also relate to its function in the context of the map. The GeoDesign approach takes cartographic design beyond the careful selection of visual variables to portray a world that is, to the purposeful creation and design of a world to be. 

If you care to watch my GeoGame presentation at the 2010 GeoDesign Summit it is here, 
with transcripts and all. More videos of much more accomplished speakers at this event can be found on the GeoDesign Summit website