Learning Geographic Information

  • Robert Lloyd
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 39)


Understanding intelligent spatial behavior is the ultimate goal for most geographic research concerned with human activities. Since human spatial behavior is frequently guided by visual interpretations of the environment or secondary representations of the environment, it is essential that geographers have an understanding of the visual processes used in decision making. This chapter is concerned with the processes used to learn geographic information. Discussions are centered on learning new information using visual processes and creating and storing spatial knowledge from initially learned information. The focus is on our ability to learn categories based on experiences and to make classification decisions that are fundamental for activities such as map reading and way finding (Golledge, Gale, Pellegrino, and Doherty 1992; Lloyd 1989; MacEachren 1992a). Most spatial behavior is the product of a sequence of events. Estes (1994) argued that intelligent behavior must be preceded by thinking that allows hypothesis testing and problem solving. Since such thinking requires information, it must be preceded by learning. Leaning information about the environment we live in must be a continuous process. For example, we learn categories from experiences and use them to make decisions. Each new experience, however, can potentially alter our understanding of the categories (Estes 1994). This means that decision-making processes that result in spatial behavior frequently combine previously learned information and newly acquired information and continuously change our understanding of the environment.


Climate Category Superordinate Category Superordinate Level Nest Hierarchy Geographic Category 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Lloyd
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and the Center of Excellence in Geographic EducationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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