Studying online trends in GIS

New paper: Patterns of Consumption and Connectedness in GIS Web Sources

Ballatore A., Scheider S., Lemmens R. (2018) Patterns of Consumption and Connectedness in GIS Web Sources. In: Mansourian A., Pilesjö P., Harrie L., van Lammeren R. (eds) Geospatial Technologies for All. AGILE 2018. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Springer, Cham [PDF]

Abstract: Every day, practitioners, researchers, and students consult the Web to meet their information needs about GIS concepts and tools. How do we improve GIS in terms of conceptual organisation, findability, interoperability and relevance for user needs? So far, efforts have been mainly top-down, overlooking the actual usage of software and tools. In this article, we critically explore the potential of Web science to gain knowledge about tool usage and public interest in GIScience concepts. First, we analyse behavioural data from Google Trends, showing clear patterns in searches for GIS software. Second, we analyse the visits to GIScience-related websites, highlighting the continued dominance of ESRI, but also the rapid emergence of Web-based new tools and services. We then study the views of Wikipedia articles to enable the quantification of methods and tools’ popularity. Fourth, we deploy web crawling and network analysis on the ArcGIS documentation to observe the relevance and conceptual associations among tools. Finally, in order to facilitate the study of GIS usage across the Web, we propose a linked-data inventory to identify Web resources related to GI concepts, methods, and tools. This inventory will also enable researchers, practitioners, and students to find what methods are available across software packages, and where to get information about them.

GIS Geographic information science GIScience GIS operations Web science Google Trends Wikipedia ArcGIS Linked data