Challenges in Spatial Data Infrastructure research: a role for transdisciplinarity?

A.K. Bregt, J.W.H.C. Crompvoets, E. de Man, L. Grus

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


The field of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is developing and approaches rapidly a critical masss of more or less operational SDIs. The purpose of the paper is to anticipate the possible impact of the maturing SDI field on its research agenda. Initial initiatives were predominantly techno centred whereas present initiatives are generally placed within current practices and developments in the exchange of spatial data between multitudes of diverse societal stakeholders. But the nature of the SDI concept is changing as well. Recent trends suggest the inclusion of data collection when needed (geo-sensors) without necessarily storing the ad-hoc collected data after use. Moreover, SDI may gradually loose its distinctiveness and become part of general information infrastructures (e.g. e-government). Once operational, SDIs need assured (self) sustainability and continuous development. Different challenges and dilemmas will also be met. The many possible data sources bring the need to choose; the initial scarcity of available data is traded for the scarcity in the ability to select. Similarly, the ability to communicate with more-and-more people (network externalities) brings diverse and often mutually conflicting worldviews and perceptions of reality. The paper first explores this maturing SDI concept as socio-technical and multi-facetted assembly, and the approaches for assessment and support of concrete SDI initiatives respectively. Future research on SDI initiatives has to address a variety of dilemmas like long-term versus short-term influences, generalization versus the ad-hoc and particular, standardization versus multiple perspectives of reality.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventGSDI 11 Conference -
Duration: 15 Jun 200919 Jun 2009


ConferenceGSDI 11 Conference


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