Using a geospatial approach to document and analyse locational points in face-to-face conversation


  • Francesco Possemato
  • Joe Blythe
  • Caroline de Dear
  • Josua Dahmen
  • Rod Gardner
  • Lesley Stirling


This paper presents a geospatial framework for the documentation and analysis of naturally-occurring locational points in interaction. This novel approach aims to provide a set of methods and procedures for interrogating geographically-enriched interactional data. GPS and GIS metadata and satellite imagery are brought to bear on video-recorded multiparty interactions to situate pointing gestures within the broader topographic setting, allowing the directionality of points to be determined to within a few degrees. The methods illustrated in this paper primarily aim to assist research on the relationship between language, gesture, and spatial cognition. By examining and comparing naturally-occurring locational points produced by speakers of typologically different languages (namely English, Gija, Murrinhpatha, and Jaru) this paper demonstrates how a geospatial approach may facilitate systematic comparisons of pointing styles across languages, contexts, and cultures, and support investigations into universals of human conduct.


GeospatialLanguageGestureSpatial cognitionCulturesHuman conductAnalysis
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 20
  • Page/Article: 313-351
  • DOI: 10.25894/ldd54
  • Published on 31 Dec 2021