Visualizing occupancy of study space

A very intersting research paper (thanks pierre for pointing me on this resource)Visualizing occupancy of library study space with GIS maps by Jingfeng Xia (School of Information Resources and Library Science, University of Arizona).

ABSTRACT Purpose – This research seeks to observe the occupancy of study areas in a university library over a period of several months with the aim of evaluating the efficiency of library resources usage. Design/methodology/approach – In undertaking the research, study facilities of a library, such as chairs, sofas, carrels, and tables, were first drawn as features on maps using a GIS application. Geospatial databases were then created to store data of occupancy of the facilities by library users, which were observed by the author. On connecting records in the databases to features on the maps, GIS functions were explored to analyze observed data and exhibit the analytical results on the maps. Findings – The findings of this research challenge the predominant opinion that insists that academic library users have a preference of study carrels over tables for studying. Instead, the research reveals that student users tend to select tables to study, especially tables equipped with electrical and internet connections. At the same time, group study rooms are overwhelmingly welcomed. Practical implications – This research demonstrates the potential of GIS technology for assisting library operations with regard to study space management. With GIS, libraries can have an automation tool to record their daily activities, analyze the data, and exhibit the analysis on maps for better understanding. Originality/value – This is an experimental work. Librarians may find it useful in managing the activities of their library and helpful in providing information for space rearrangement and service enhancement.

Why do I blog this? the use of GIS to study the use of space (in terms of its social affordance) seems relevant and compelling. Using space syntax methdology might be a good solution to complete this approach.