Terms of Reference

Distributed spatial computing

A distributed (spatial) system is defined as a (spatial) information system where multiple system components must interoperate via a digital communications network to complete some task (Worboys and Duckham, 2004).

Decentralized spatial computing

A decentralized (spatial) system is a special case of a distributed (spatial) system, where no single system component has access to information about the entire system state (Lynch, 1996).

In short, decentralized spatial computing is concerned with distributed spatial systems where system components have access to pieces of the puzzle, but no single component possesses the entire picture.

Geosensor network

A wireless sensor network is a wireless network miniaturized, sensor-enabled computing devices, called sensor nodes or sensor motes. A geosensor network is a special case of a wireless sensor network which monitors changes in geographic space (Nittel et al. 2004). Individual sensor motes have at least wireless a transceiver for digital communication, a microcontroller (CPU) for computing, and a sensors for measuring environmental conditions.

In short, each sensor mote in a geosensor network possesses the capability for the “three Cs”:  spatial data capture, communication, and computation.

Ambient spatial intelligence

Ambient spatial intelligence (AmSI) aims to embed in natural and built environment the capabilities to respond directly to spatial queries about changes in those environments (Duckham and Bennett, 2009).

In short, AmSI is an application of distributed and decentralized spatial computing using technologies like geosensor networks to practical environmental monitoring and management problems.


Duckham, M. and Bennett, R., 2009. Ambient Spatial Intelligence. In Gottfried, B. and Aghajan, H. (Eds), Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments, IOS Press.

Lynch, N., 1996. Distributed Algorithms. San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Nittel, S., et al., 2004. Report from the First Workshop on Geo Sensor Networks. ACM
SIGMOD Record, 33 (1), 141–144.

Worboys, M. and Duckham, M., 2004. GIS: A Computing Perspective. 2nd Boca Raton,
FL: CRC Press.

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