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[iaoa-general] Summer Institute deadline approaching

To: iaoa-general@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Michael Gruninger <gruninger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2013 09:36:12 -0400
Message-id: <515C304C.8040303@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

IAOA and the Vespucci Initiative for the Advancement of Geographic Information in Sciece is announcing
the 11th Annual Vespucci Institutes


June 3 to 7, 2013 in Fiesole, Italy – "Ontologies and models for integrated assessments of multiple-scale processes"

One of the grand challenges of our time is to understand and manage the complex relationships between society and the physical environment. To meet this challenge we need a new kind of interdisciplinary science that considers the full ensemble of processes and feedbacks for a wide range of biophysical and social systems. The notion of “land function” is a new concept for cross-sector integration and for representing complex system dynamics. This new approach aims to provide a comprehensive, consistent and harmonised analysis of the impacts and responses of land functions to environmental and socio-economic changes using a detailed, spatially disaggregated bottom-up approach consistent with the Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact, Response framework. Whilst this framework is used in the environmental sciences, a social-science approach suitable to model land function dynamics and interactions from local to global scales is that of simulation based modelling and in particular spatial micro-simulation. The latter is conceptually very relevant to popular computer games such as SimCity and the Sims and involves the merging of census and survey data to simulate a population of individuals within households (for different geographical units), whose characteristics are as close to the real population as it is possible to estimate. Spatial micro-simulation models can then be used to answer questions pertaining to the geographical, as well as the socio-economic impacts of government policies and to generally perform what-if scenario analysis. When attempting to link environmental and social models, key challenges include the degree of tacit knowledge, varying assumptions, and different conceptual and theoretical frameworks that create barriers and misunderstandings in the dialogue. To overcome this, it is crucial to formalize and communicate the description, and the assumptions, of the models used. These descriptions and models must be based upon robust specifications of notions like function, cause, process, pathway, rate of change, or quality, as they apply to entities in physical reality that are (in a certain way) independent of the activity of human agents. Moreover, we need descriptions and models of the interaction of humans with their environments. For example, intentional agents (individually or as groups) act upon the physical environment by causing certain processes that change certain qualities. The Vespucci Institute will therefore explore the theoretical basis, assumptions, concepts, and components of the land function and spatial micro-simulation models, and analyse how we can move towards developing an ontology of land function and land function dynamics and a collection of models that are tentatively consistent with the logical constraints of this ontology.

Dimitris Ballas (University of Sheffield), Tom Bittner (SUNY-Buffalo), Max Craglia (JRC), Werner Kuhn (University of Münster), Carlo Lavalle (JRC) 

Deadline for applications: March 31, 2013

IAOA student members may apply for fee waivers and/or travel grants by sending the following information
to Michael Gruninger (gruninger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) by April 15, 2013.
- a recent CV
- an application letter including 
a) "a statement of why I want to attend the summer school and what I hope to get out of it"
b) "the description of specific travel support needed"

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