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Workshop on platial analysis (PLATIAL'18)

The concept of 'place' is about to become one of the major research themes in the interdisciplinary field of geographical information science (GIScience), as well as in adjoining fields. Briefly put, while locations provide objective references (e.g., point coordinates), places are the units utilized by humans to approach the geographic world. On the one hand, the current 'platial turn' is caused by the plethora of particularly urban geographic datasets that have become available in the last years, many of which are user-generated (e.g., geosocial media feeds). These so-called ambient geospatial datasets mirror small and limited glimpses of the everyday lives of people and how these approach and experience the geographic world into the digital sphere. Ambient geographic datasets may thus be understood as something deeper than just mere 'attributes referenced over point locations', which is why they have recently been conjectured to be of platial rather than of spatial nature. 'Platial' can hereby be understood as the place-based counterpart to the space-based adjective 'spatial'.

Understanding these either individual or collective, digitally collected experiences requires taking account of social, cultural, behavioural and cognitive aspects. This endeavour therefore opens up a delicate opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration, transcending disciplinary boundaries, the fostering of which is the aim of the PLATIAL'18 workshop. What sets this workshop apart from others dealing with the concept of place is that the focus is decisively on its quantitative investigation and conceptual formalization. Nevertheless, PLATIAL'18 accommodates a wide range of aspects all of which in one way or another are related to the two outlined core foci. This is well reflected by the various topical sessions into which the workshop has been organized.

This two-day event is jointly co-convened by staff and faculty from CIM (René Westerholt) and the Institute of Geography at Heidelberg University (Franz-Benjamin Mocnik, Alexander Zipf). Please find all relevant information and the programme below.

Workshop homepage


20 and 21 September 2018.


Heidelberg University, Mathematikon Building, 5th Floor, Conference Room, Im Neuenheimer Feld 205, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany (Map).


Dr René Westerholt