This paper discusses a number of important spatial optimization problems, including path routing and location planning, highlighting how they have evolved from simplified expressions to more advanced formalizations. Computing, enhanced data and GIS (geographic information systems) are shown to be central in this evolution. Trends suggest continued advancement, but also the need for further technical and theoretical development.
Alan Murray (BS, MA, PhD UC Santa Barbara) is Professor in the College of Computing and Informatics, Professor in the School of Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics), and Director of the Center for Spatial Analytics and Geocomputation, all at Drexel University. He recently joined Drexel after having spent six years at Arizona State University, where he was a Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and prior to this spent nine years at Ohio State University, where he was the Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis as well as a Professor in the Department of Geography. He is currently an editor of International Regional Science Review, associate editor for Socio-Economic Planning Sciences and Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and former editor of Geographical Analysis. His research and teaching interests include: geographic information science; health informatics; land use planning; urban, regional, and natural resource planning and development; quantitative methods; infrastructure and transportation systems; spatial optimization; location modeling; databases and data structures; spatial representation; and techniques to support interactive planning and decision making. He is the author of two books and over 200 research articles, book chapters and proceedings papers.