Geospatial Agents, Agents Everywhere . . .

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The use of the related terms “agent-based”, “multi-agent”, “software agent” and “intelligent agent” have witnessed significant growth in the Geographic Information Science (GIScience) literature in the past decade. These terms usually refer to both artificial life agents that simulate human and animal behavior and software agents that support human-computer interactions. In this article we first comprehensively review both types of agents. Then we argue that both these categories of agents borrow from Artificial Intelligence (AI) research, requiring them to share the characteristics of and be similar to AI agents. We also argue that geospatial agents form a distinct category of AI agents because they are explicit about geography and geographic data models. Our overall goal is to first capture the diversity of, and then define and categorize GIScience agent research into geospatial agents, thereby capturing the diversity of agent-oriented architectures and applications that have been developed in the recent past to present a holistic review of geospatial agents.

Keywords: agent-based; artificial life agents; complexity theory; intelligent agents; multi-agent systems; software agents

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography and McGill School of Environment McGill University

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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