Virtual Geographic Environments (VGEs): A New Generation of Geographic Analysis Tool

2013/05/03

Journal:《Earth-Science Reviews》 126:74–84 · November 2013

Cite as:Lin H, Chen M, Lu G, et al. Virtual Geographic Environments (VGEs): A New Generation of Geographic Analysis Tool[J]. Earth-science Reviews, 2013, 126(11):74-84.

Citations:Virtual Geographic Environments (VGEs) are proposed as a new generation of geographic analysis tool to contribute to human understanding of the geographic world and assist in solving geographic problems at a deeper level. The development of VGEs is focused on meeting the three scientific requirements of Geographic Information Science (GIScience) — multi-dimensional visualization, dynamic phenomenon simulation, and public participation. To provide a clearer image that improves user understanding of VGEs and to contribute to future scientific development, this article reviews several aspects of VGEs. First, the evolutionary process from maps to previous GISystems and then to VGEs is illustrated, with a particular focus on the reasons VGEs were created. Then, extended from the conceptual framework and the components of a complete VGE, three use cases are identified that together encompass the current state of VGEs at different application levels: 1) a tool for geo-object-based multi-dimensional spatial analysis and multi-channel interaction, 2) a platform for geo-process-based simulation of dynamic geographic phenomena, and 3) a workspace for multi-participant-based collaborative geographic experiments. Based on the above analysis, the differences between VGEs and other similar platforms are discussed to draw their clear boundaries. Finally, a short summary of the limitations of current VGEs is given, and future directions are proposed to facilitate ongoing progress toward forming a comprehensive version of VGEs.Discover the world's research