Considerations from the development of a local spatial data infrastructure

Clodoveu A. Davis, Frederico T. Fonseca

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The development of spatial data infrastructures (SDI) is often the victim of an excessive focus on data and standards. In this paper we use the hermeneutics of Gadamer and Habermas to understand the problem of how SDIs can succeed. We use Gadamer’s concept of phronesis to show how being an application-driven project is a key for success, and Habermas’ ideas to show the importance of emancipatory knowledge in the implementation of SDIs. A case study on a GIS project in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is presented. The project has been evolving for fifteen years, although it started with a focus on data and standards, and generated a strong and active spatial data infrastructure for the city. The reasons for success were manifold, but we highlight the application-driven nature of the project, along with the combination of multiple disciplines and multiple levels of expertise in its design and implementation team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpatial Data Infrastructures in Context
Subtitle of host publicationNorth and South
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781439828038
ISBN (Print)9781138077669
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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