NCGIA History

The National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis was a multi-institution, multidisciplinary research consortium dedicated to basic research and education in geographic information science and its related technologies. The three member institutions: the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University at Buffalo; and the University of Maine collaborated on the original successful award from the National Science Foundation in 1989. NCGIA continues to operate as an independent consortium and still receives substantial funding from various directorates within NSF as well as other federal agencies.

The NCGIA originally organized its research efforts through a sequence of research initiatives which lead to numerous research publications and products.

The NCGIA stands as an international focus for basic research. Its three sites attract short- and long-term visitors from around the world. It continues to influence cutting edge research in geographic information science through initiation and participation in workshops, specialist meetings, conference series such as the International Symposium for Geographic Information Science and other activities.

The NCGIA initiated development of the Core Curriculum in geographic information science and it continues to advance educational programs for students at all levels.

Research Initiatives

  • Initiative 1
    Accuracy of Spatial Databases (1988-1990)
    Michael Goodchild
  • Initiative 2
    Languages of Spatial Relations (1989-1991)
    David Mark
  • Initiative 3
    Multiple Representations (1989-1991)
    Barbara Buttenfield
  • Initiative 4
    Use & Value of Geographic Information (1989-1992)
    Hugh Calkins & Harlan Onsrud
  • Initiative 5
    Large Spatial Databases (1989-1992)
    Terence Smith & Andrew Frank
  • Initiative 6
    Spatial Decision Support Systems (1990-1992)
    Michael Goodchild & Paul Densham
  • Initiative 7
    Visualization of Spatial Data Quality (1991-1993)
    Kate Beard & Barbara Buttenfield
  • Initiative 8
    Formalizing Cartographic Knowledge (1993-)
    Barbara Buttenfield
  • Initiative 9
    Institutions Sharing Geographic Information (1992-)
    Harlan Onsrud & Gerard Rushton
  • Initiative 10
    Spatio-Temporal Reasinong in GIS (1993-)
    Max Egenhofer & Reginald Golledge
  • Initiative 11
  • Initiative 12
    Integration of Remote Sensing & GIS (1990-1993)
    Frank Davis, John Estes & Jeffrey Star
  • Initiative 13
    User Interfaces for GIS (1991-1993)
    David Mark & Andrew Frank
  • Initiative 14
    GIS & Spatial Analysis (1992-1994)
    Stewart Fotheringham & Peter Rogerson
  • Initiative 15
    Multiple Roles for GIS in U.S. Global Change Research (1994-)
    Kate Beard, John Estes, Tim Foresman, Michael Goodchild,
    Jenny Robinson & Kenneth McGwire
  • Initiative 16
    Law, Information Policy & Spatial Databases (1994-)
    Harlan Onsrud & Robert Reis
  • Initiative 17
    Collaborative Spatial Decision-Making (1994-)
    Paul Densham, Marc Armstrong & Karen Kemp
  • Initiative 18
    Changed to a conference
  • Initiative 19
    The Social Implications of How People, Space & Environment are Represented in GIS (1995-)
    Trevor Harris & Daniel Weiner
  • Initiative 20
    Interoperating GIS’s (1996-)
    Max Egenhofer & Michael Goodchild
  • Initiative 21
    Formal Models of the Common-Sense Geographic World (1996-)
    David Mark & Max Egenhofer