The AI-GEOSTATS forum is now more than 10 years old, a very respectable age considering that age of the Internet and the average lifetime of web pages.
AI-GEOSTATS was called after Arc/Info (which explains the "AI" in AI-GEOSTATS), a widely distributed GIS, and geostatistics. The choice of the name is purely historical: as a young Ph.D. student in radioecology, I was looking for information on basic tools developed for the statistical analysis of spatial data and realised not only that the tools proposed in the environmental sciences were elementary, but also that more advanced tools were working like black boxes. Basically, most GIS provided their users with a magic button "create map" and that was all the users asked for at that time, not being aware of the fact that many methods were existing. The question on "what interpolation method between the many available in the literature should I use?" became almost an obsession and I ended up doing a Ph.D. in the field. There was such a high interest about this topic (many Arc/Info users were indeed curious about the strange terms of kriging and variograms) that I created my own "cluster" within ESRI's user group. I was putting the words AI-GEOSTATS in the headers of my mails to attract more attention. Becoming quickly too invasive, I was recommended to start a brand new mailing list.
My lack of experience at that time in using the tools developed for the Internet (majordomo, listserv, etc.) was a problem in setting up a new mailing list. This lack was quickly compensated by the technical support offered by a mysterious chap from the Penn State University, called Jeff Wolfe, who proposed to help me to set up a new mailing list. Jeff, in a few hours, installed a majordomo mailing server and I became the moderator of a new mailing list called AI-GEOSTATS. This was on the 26 of April 1995. After having provided day and night a constant technical support to the mailing list (subscription, distribution of mails, fixing bugs, etc.), Jeff got another job and I moved the mailing list during the Autumn 2000 to the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland where it remained until 2006 (thanks a lot to Nicolas Gilardi and Dominique Rey who helped me to maintain the server during this transition period). The list and web site are now hosted where it all started, in Ispra (Italy), at the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the Joint Research Centre Directorate General of the European Commission. This new interface has been set up with the kind help of Patrick Petit.
As of August 2006, the list includes more than 500 subscribers coming from around 100 different countries and AI-GEOSTATS is considered by most as being the main reference on the Internet for what concerns the above mentioned topics and has received various awards. The use of the mailing list is completely free, it is open to anyone, and completely independent from commercial interests.
Gregoire Dubois, Ispra,