Geographical Categories: An Ontological Retrospective

International Journal of Geographical Information Science 15 (7):507–512 (2001)
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Since it is only five years since the publication of our paper, "Geographical categories: An ontological investigation" (Smith and Mark 2001), it seems somewhat strange to be making retrospective comments on the piece. Nevertheless, the field is moving quickly, and much has happened since the article appeared. A large number of papers have already cited the work, which suggests that there is a seam here that people find worthy of being mined. In this short essay, we first review the paper and attempt to assess its significance from the perspective of our current work. We then put the paper in the context of our individual and joint works, which led up to it, and summarize our research trajectories since the paper appeared, pointing out what some of this reveals about spatial ontology in general. We conclude with some remarks on the future of ontological research in geographical information science.

Author's Profile

Barry Smith
University at Buffalo


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