Workshops & Tutorials

Attending a Workshop


At Spatial Cognition 2012, you are invited to participate in any workshop or tutorial of your choice (unless you selected the conference-only registration). If you do not present a paper, however, please send a short informal email to the workshop organizers so that they get rough estimates of the number of participants, thanks.

Worksop Program for Spatial Cognition 2012 on August, 31 2012


Full-Day Event

Half-Day Events (morning) Half-Day Events (afternoon)

Preliminary Workshop/Tutorial Schedule


Fri 31.08.2012: Workshops & Tutorials

  • 08:30 - 10:00: Morning Workshops/Tutorials
  • 10:00 - 10:30: Coffee break
  • 10:30 - 12:00: Morning Workshops/Tutorials
  • 12:00 - 13:30: Lunch
  • 13:30 - 14:30: Afternoon Workshops/Tutorials
  • 14:30 - 15:00: Coffee break
  • 15:00 - 16:30: Afternoon Workshops/Tutorials
  • 16:30 - 16:50: Coffee break
  • 16:50 - 18:00: Afternoon Workshops/Tutorials
  • 19:00 - 20:30: Dinner


Full-Day Workshop: Place-related Knowledge Acquisition Research (P-KAR)


ABSTRACT - Place has become a hot topic in GIScience: place is important in human cognition and communication, and hence, is a high priority for human‐computer interaction. But place is also a challenging concept to model, reason with, and analyze in information systems, because of its fluency with context shifts, and its underspecification. This workshop invites researchers from computational linguistics, data mining, artificial intelligence, geographic information science, and related disciplines to tackle this challenge. The aim is to bring together researchers with an interest in using the concept of geographic place for building smarter services and integrating heterogeneous data.

Important dates:

  • Paper submission deadline: May 11, 2012
  • Notification: June 8, 2012
  • Camera-ready copy: June 30, 2012
  • Workshop date: August 31, 2012


  • Stephan Winter (University of Melbourne, AU)
  • William Mackaness (University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Krzysztof Janowicz (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
  • Kai-Florian Richter (University of Melbourne, AU)
  • Maria Vasardani (University of Melbourne, AU)

For more information on the workshop structure and call for papers, please visit .


Half-Day Tutorial: CogSketch (morning)


ABSTRACT - People sketch to work out ideas and to communicate with each other. This makes it a natural window into exploring spatial cognition, and for creating software that works more naturally with people. Sketch understanding software can be used to help model aspects of human cognition, to gather data from human participants in experiments, and in developing new kinds of intelligent software. CogSketch, a publicly available sketch understanding system, is being developed to support cognitive science research and to serve as a platform for sketch-based educational software. CogSketch incorporates visual processing of digital ink, qualitative spatial representations, analogical matching over integrated spatial and conceptual representations, and a large open-source knowledge base. It has already been used by psychologists and learning scientists for gathering data in laboratory experiments, by cognitive scientists to simulate human visual reasoning, and in classroom experiments in geoscience and engineering. This half-day tutorial is intended for cognitive science researchers who want to use sketching in their research. Attendees will learn the basics of CogSketch and how it might be used to facilitate their research. This includes a summary of its representations and processing, and the support it provides for laboratory experiments, computational experiments, and building educational software. You can find out more about CogSketch, and download it.

Important dates:

  • Tutorial date: August 31, 2012 (morning)


  • Kenneth D. Forbus (Northwestern University)
  • Andrew Lovett (Northwestern University)
  • Jon Wetzel (Northwestern University)

For more information on the workshop structure and call for papers,
please visit .


Half-Day Workshop: When is Virtual Reality Real Enough? Using VR in Spatial Cognition Research (morning)


ABSTRACT - Although the use of Virtual Reality in spatial cognition research is becoming more and more widespread, there is little guidance on what kind of VR setups and experimental paradigms are most suitable for specific situations and research questions. This might result in a number of issues, such as suboptimal use of equipment and insufficient transferability of results to the real world. The aim of this half-day workshop is to discuss and raise awareness of these issues, and take first steps in tackling them. The workshop will start with a brief introduction of the current state of VR in spatial cognition research, followed by individual talks on specific research projects in this area. The workshop will conclude with a general panel discussion. Attendees will leave with an improved understanding of the advantages and challenges of using various VR setups to address different research questions. No prior VR knowledge or experience is required for attendees.

Important dates:

  • Workshop date: August 31, 2012 (morning)


  • Bernhard E. Riecke (Simon Fraser University)
  • Klaus Gramann (University of Osnabruck)
  • Salvar Sigurdarson (Simon Fraser University)

For more information on the workshop structure and call for papers, please visit .


Half-Day Tutorial: Understanding Spatial Thought Through Language Use (afternoon)


ABSTRACT - How can language help to understand spatial thought? One way of addressing internal processes is to analyze their external representations, such as natural language produced along with cognitively complex tasks (Ericsson & Simon, 1993). The aim of this tutorial is to examine how language data, collected in order to understand spatial thought, can be analyzed systematically and on a sound linguistic basis. The method of Cognitive Discourse Analysis (CODA) (Tenbrink, 2010) will be introduced, which uses linguistic methods and insights to address research questions in cognitive science (e.g., Hölscher et al., 2011; Tenbrink et al., 2011; Tenbrink & Seifert, 2011; Tenbrink & Wiener, 2009). One main aim is to identify particular types of linguistic patterns in the collected data that are likely to point to specific cognitive processes in spatial settings.

The tutorial will be organized so as to cover the complete process (from initial ideas to evaluation of analysis results) in an interactive format, including practical exercises where applicable. Participants are encouraged to contribute a 10-min talk related to one step of this process, and also to raise questions or issues to discuss for other steps. It is envisioned to prepare a collection of papers in a volume with the tutorial's title, with authors interactively developing content based on combinations of their talks and the discussed issues.

There is no prerequisite for taking this tutorial. Participants who have already collected natural language data are encouraged to bring examples as handouts or on their computers. Participants interested in a future publication are encouraged to submit a 300-word abstract to propose a 10-minute presentation as part of the tutorial, and/or a critical issue to discuss.

Important dates:

  • Tutorial date: August 31, 2012 (afternoon)



  • Ericsson, K.A., & Simon, H.A. (1993). Protocol analysis: Verbal reports as data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hölscher, C., Tenbrink, T., & Wiener, J. (2011). Would you follow your own route description? Cognition 121, 228-247.
  • Tenbrink, T. (2010). CODA: Kognitive Diskursanalyse. In: E. Ruigendijk, T. Stolz, & J. Trabant (Hrsg.), Linguistik im Nordwesten: Beiträge zum 1. Nordwestdeutschen Linguistischen Kolloquium. Bochum: Brockmeyer.
  • Tenbrink, T., Bergmann, E., Konieczny, L. (2011). Wayfinding and description strategies in an unfamiliar complex building. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T.F. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Tenbrink, T., & Seifert, I. (2011). Conceptual Layers and Strategies in Tour Planning. Cognitive Processing 12:1, 109–125.
  • Tenbrink, T., & Wiener, J. (2009). The verbalization of multiple strategies in a variant of the traveling salesperson problem. Cognitive Processing 10:2, 143-161.

For more information, please visit .

Half-Day Workshop: Spatial Knowledge Acquisition with Limited Information Displays (afternoon)


Workshop on Spatial Knowledge Acquisition with Limited Information Displays

ABSTRACT - The workshop focuses on the challenges and opportunities of geographic spatial knowledge acquisition from low information density displays. Low information density, as we understand it here, can be be found in visual mobile maps which are typically used on small displays such as smartphones or navigation systems for wayfinding and routing purposes. Another example is haptic maps which are often used as static displays in public places such as railway stations to provide an overview of the area. In this workshop we want to explore the common technological and methodological concepts, challenges, and problems of visual, haptic and multimodal maps, often utilized in but not limited to mobile settings. On the one hand, modern smartphones are about to have high-resolution displays that will provide new opportunities and challenges for mobile cartography. On the other hand, with the availability of affordable technologies like force-feedback devices, vibro-tactile displays, or computer-driven embossers, the range of haptic maps and their usage will become more diversified. Acknowledging the research already done and looking at promising opportunities and challenges, we are interested in commonalities and differences of visual, haptic, and multimodal maps and the related spatial knowledge acquisition processes by approaching the topic from different backgrounds such as geography, spatial cognition, cartography, computer science, mobility research, human-computer interaction and psychology. With the input from the workshop participants and an invited speaker, we will discuss which transfers could be made between different types of low information density maps like visual mobile maps and haptic maps, and what is fundamentally different between them. At the end of the workshop we plan to facilitate a joint research agenda about how the generation of different types of low information density maps can benefit from each others insights, solutions, and joint challenges.

Important dates:

  • Workshop date: August 31, 2012 (afternoon)


  • Christian Graf (University of Bremen)
  • Schmid Falko (University of Bremen)
  • Nicholas Giudice (University of Maine)

For more information on the workshop structure and call for papers, please visit .