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Field Informatics

Field Informatics Research Group, Kyoto University

Field Informatics has for objective to propose solutions to various problems arising in the field from an informatics perspective. The field oriented wide-range methodologies consist of description, prediction, design and transfer stages. This seminar is meant to be a primer guide for graduate students willing to look into nature observation, for field workers seeking for social participation processes, or for engineers groping for innovation. To apprehend the workings of field and information, 9 processes from different backgrounds will be explained in light of 3 scenarios: observation of nature, observation of human activities and innovation.

Field informatics project aims to establish methodologies of field informatics. To this end, we collaborate with and support various field oriented projects as pilot projects to gather actual research experience. In parallel, we select and apply existing field oriented methodologies to the pilot projects to understand their strength and weakness, and gradually shape the new methodologies of field informatics.

What is Field Informatics

Field is defined here as "a spatio-temporal area that is difficult to grasp via any analytical and/or engineering approach due to the co-existence of various individuals and entities, which results in the unexpected occurrence of seemingly accidental events thus necessitating our continuing commitment and caring. (Osamu Katai)" Field informatics aims to provide solutions to various problems arising in the field from the standpoint of informatics.

The components of field informatics are description, prediction, design and transfer, and the methods for those components range widely. Because field informatics is a new research area, it lacks a founding method. We consider that various methods of various origins will be applied to realize description, prediction, design, and transfer in the field.

For example, let's consider the social goal of revitalizing hilly and mountainous areas amid increasing depopulation. Though all agree that creating a new business model in those areas is important, it is not easy to find an effective way of attracting people to hilly and mountainous areas. By using field informatics, however, situations can be described with remote sensing , bio-logging, human sensing and ethnography; the effects of various options can be predicted with system dynamics and multi-agent simulations; and solutions can be designed using methods such as inclusive design and participatory design. In addition, the experience gained can be transferred by case writing and outreach communication .

Field Informatics Core

Target of Field Informatics

Field informatics can be applied to nature observation, social participation, and innovation.

Field informatics for natural observation

Field informatics for natural observation is an extension of fieldwork, and uses both theories and methodologies to analyze information from fields scientifically. Field informatics can generate key technologies such as remote sensing and biologging to solve global problems such as food shortages and environmental degradation. The role played by informatics in natural observation involves collecting and accumulating data, and verifying and utilizing them in accordance with the intended purpose.

For more information, please visit the pages about Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems, Bio-logging and System Dynamics.

Field informatics for social participation

Field informatics for social participation is a place where there is inherent value and people who protect the value. The new science required here involves modeling the complex and diverse phenomena arising in the field and transferring the resulting model to practitioners. Therefore, field informatics transcribes the words and deeds resulting from the actions of people and involves analysis and generalization. The obtained model must be shared by practitioners in the field in an understandable form.

For more information, please visit the pages about Human Sensing, Ethnography and Case Writing.

Field informatics for innovation

Field informatics for innovation involves designing and realizing an information system that contributes to the human community by through its application in different fields. In other words, it creates innovation via the mutual learning of the designers and users of information technology. From this perspective, the field is a site where new narratives are generated with the support of technical feasibility in the near future rather than those for mere observation. Field informatics for innovation incorporates technological progress during the development period, and creates a scenario, which can be realized in the near future.

For more information, please visit the pages about Inclusive Design, Participatory Design, Multi-agent Simulation and Outreach Communication.