Though I’ve attended GISRUK in the past, this was my first year presenting, so I was quite excited/nervous for GISRUK 2014. Initially, there was a little resistance to accepting my paper, as the focus is on how various prominent interdisciplinary projects are utilising GIS, which was initially viewed as not having enough focus on GIS itself. This is often the challenge in interdisciplinary research, which can affect any similar endeavour – disciplinarians will often view the work as lacking the discipline focus of one and being more of another (and the other disciplines that may be involved say the same as well). As interdisciplinarity is something that many researchers are talking about, this sort of attitude is counter-intuitive to such efforts, and was recognised; instead of what would’ve just been a single talk on interdisciplinary GIS use, a whole plenary session was planned to impress its importance.
Outside of my own talk, there were others on using GIS to map shell mineral structures of mollusks (Prof. Maggie Cusack), GIS use for establishing European policies for sustainable development (Jose Munoz-Rojas) and a web GIS toolkit on assessing the viability of renewable energy resources (Philippa Wood (n. Day)). However, as I was presenting (which my presentation is available on Slideshare, should you wish to review it), I could see that some researchers were slightly “switching off”; these sorts of topics may not be of interest to some more disciplinary focused researchers (applications of GIS in Biology may be not be relevant to GI Scientists focused on geocomputation and algorithm development, which is a throw back to one of my previous blog entries). I can only hope, though, that some in the room may have seen these different ways of applied GIS and become inspired to think about different applications for it and perhaps how they can borrow techniques from other disciplines to expand their own analyses.