The Conference on Spatial Information Theory - COSIT - grew out of a series of workshops/NATO Advanced Study Institutes/NSF Specialist Meetings concerned with cognitive and applied aspects of representing large scale space, particularly geographic space. In these meetings, the need for a well-founded theory of spatial information processing was identified.
The conference series was established in 1993 as an interdisciplinary biannual European conference on the representation and processing of large-scale space information after a successful international conference on the topic had been organized by Andrew Frank et al. in Pisa in 1992 (frequently referred to as "COSIT 0").
After two successful European COSIT conferences with strong North American participation (COSIT '93: Island of Elba, Italy; COSIT '95: Semmering, Austria), COSIT '97 was held in the United States, in the Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania. COSIT '99 returned to Europe, held at Stade, Germany.