Paper #: 14-04-010
Although interpersonal relationships (modeled as social networks) form, persist and dissolve within the provisions and confines of geographic space, they are rarely modeled within Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. This disconnect may be a result of a lack of research questions that ask about how social life is intertwined with the built environment, or lack of integrated modeling environments.
Instead, researchers focus on either social discoveries (such as, the number of contacts an average agent has) or spatial discoveries (such as, the venues where agents are located on a Saturday night), though it beneficial to ask questions that combine each variable (does one’s choice of locale on a Saturday night depend on how many contacts one has?) in order to learn more about socialization, human behavior and quality of life in geography.
Many fields of research play a role in the combination of Social Network Analysis and GIScience. These include theory and practice of modeling flows in GIS, how social connectivity data and social agents have been embedded in GISystems in the past (topics: physical networks, flow visualization, social regionalization, agent-based models). We review how complex network methods have been applied to spatial features (topics: social regionalization, transportation networks, studies of distance decay). Finally, we list topics that describe human interpersonal behavior as social systems (social network analysis), within proximal environments (community sociology) and with focus on communication and psychology (studies of interpersonal relationships). These topics are chosen based on their ability to illuminate parts of the study of social systems within geographic space that can show how, where and why we form relationships over geographic space.