Personalized GIS

Mark Altaweel

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Researchers and developers have increasingly looked at how GIS can be personalized for our day-to-day activities.

For instance, what if we woke up one day and from the beginning we had information about where we wanted to go, our routes planned already, with traffic accounted for, the location of the office we needed to be in determined before we even looked it up, and our kids’ football or baseball game was all mapped for us without every having to enter any of these data.

GIS that adapts to personal behaviors

In the world of personalized GIS, software developed can now provide us with two key services. It can adapt to our behaviors and know what we need before having to request it or it can give us recommendations based on what tastes we have or have had in the past or based on others’ preferences.[1] The latter is more common and is already integrated with many services.

This has already happened with applications such as Google Maps, GemeniMaps, or other viewers that can be customizable to be used for daily activities or planning. However, there is still much research or development to be done even in this area, as part of the issue is software needs to not only learn about our behavior but it also needs to be able to search available data and obtain geospatial information about places of interest.

In large part, then, it is an issue of accessing a large number of possible data, while also learning enough about us to help with our decisions.

Adaptable GIS

Adaptable GIS is one method where our input and behavior patterns are slowly learned by a GIS system and then over time it begins to know what we are likely to do next before we do it.[2]

User context, location, and profile interests are integrated with personalized GIS to display adaptive profiles.  From: Aoidh et. al, 2009.
User context, location, and profile interests are integrated with personalized GIS to display customized views. From: Aoidh et. al, 2009.

While we are likely to be some time away from having a GIS that can organize or even plan our daily activities in advance of us having to input this information, there are increasingly more personalized systems in operation for specific types of tasks.

Tourism is one area that is using previous user information or experiences to then provide suggested itineraries.[3]

References

[1] For more information on research behind personalized GIS, see:  Mac Aoidh, E., G. McArdle, M. Petit, C. Ray, M. Bertolotto, C. Claramunt, and D. Wilson. 2009. “Personalization in Adaptive and Interactive GIS.” Annals of GIS 15 (1): 23–33.

[2] For more information on adaptable GIS, see: Wang, Yingjie, Hongyan Deng, Jing Cui, Zhuoyuan Yu, and Ling Liu. 2009. “An Adaptive Personalized GIS Solution.” In , 518–22. IEEE. doi:10.1109/GCIS.2009.59.

[3] For information on personalized services provided to tourists, see:  Mac Aoidh, E., G. McArdle, M. Petit, C. Ray, M. Bertolotto, C. Claramunt, and D. Wilson. 2009. “Personalization in Adaptive and Interactive GIS.” Annals of GIS 15 (1): 23–33.

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About the author
Mark Altaweel
Mark Altaweel is a Reader in Near Eastern Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, having held previous appointments and joint appointments at the University of Chicago, University of Alaska, and Argonne National Laboratory. Mark has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

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