Getting Started with GIS

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: Benjamin Cummings
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This best-selling non-technical, reader-friendly introduction to GIS makes the complexity of this rapidly growing high-tech field accessible to beginners. It uses a "learn-by-seeing" approach that features clear, simple explanations, an abundance of illustrations and photos, and generic practice labs for use with any GIS software.What Is a GIS? GIS's Roots in Cartography. Maps as Numbers. Getting the Map into the Computer. What Is Where? Why Is It There? Making Maps with GIS. How to Pick a GIS. GIS in Action. The Future of GIS.For anyone interested in a hands-on introduction to Geographic Information Systems.

Table of Contents

(NOTE: Each chapter includes Study Guide, Exercises, References, and Key Terms and Definitions.)
1. What Is a GIS?

Getting Started. Some Definitions of GIS. A Brief History of GIS. Sources of Information on GIS. People in GIS: Nils Larsen.

2. GIS's Roots in Cartography.
Map and Attribute Information. Map Scale and Projections. Coordinate Systems. Geographic Information.

3. Maps as Numbers.
Representing Maps as Numbers. Structuring Attributes. Structuring Maps. Why Topology Matters. Formats for GIS Data. Exchanging Data. People in GIS: Mark Bosworth.

4. Getting the Map into the Computer.
Analog-to-Digital Maps. Finding Existing Map Data. Digitizing and Scanning. Field and Image Data. Data Entry. Editing and Validation. People in GIS: Susan Benjamin.

5. What Is Where?
Basic Database Management. Searches by Attribute. Searches by Geography. The Query Interface.

6. Why Is It There?
Describing Attributes. Statistical Analysis. Spatial Description. Spatial Analysis. Searching for Spatial Relationships. GIS and Spatial Analysis.

7. Making Maps with GIS.
The Parts of a Map. Choosing a Map Type. Designing the Map.

8. How to Pick a GIS.
The Evolution of GIS Software. GIS and Operating Systems. GIS Software Capabilities. GIS Software and Data Structures. Choosing the Best GIS. People in GIS: Assaf Anyamba.

9. GIS in Action.
Introducing GIS in Action. Case Study 1: GIS Fights the Gypsy Moth. Case Study 2: GIS and Road Accidents in Connecticut. Case Study 3: GIS Helps Environmental Assessment in Brooklyn. Case Study 4: The Channel Islands GIS. Case Study 5: Using GIS and GPS to Map the Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa.

10. The Future of GIS.
Why Speculate? Future Data. Future Hardware. Future Software. Some Future Issues and Problems. Conclusion. People in GIS: Michael Goodchild.



After six years and four editions,Getting Started with Geographic Information Systemsremains a basic-level textbook for the beginning student in the expanding field of geographic information science. Books in GIS have tended to be rather advanced, for the specialist rather than the beginner. GIS is not just for the specialist, but for everyone.Geographic information scienceis the discipline that uses geographic information systems as tools to understand the world, by describing and explaining humankind's relationship to that world. The usual order of intellectual discovery has been reversed by GIS. In the past, geography students in their advanced studies met the tools of spatial description and analysis for the first time. Today, students from many disciplines and professionals find their way into the newly evolving academic discipline of geographic information sciencethroughtheir hands-on use of geographic information systems and through the medium of real-world problems. Geographic information systems are an important new entry point into fields where location in geographic space makes a difference, what might be called themapping sciences.Nevertheless, it is reassuring to find that as geographic information technologies have evolved, necessitating revision after revision of this book, the same old principles have reemerged to assert their significance as the roots of the new discipline. Much of this book is simply an old story retold, one that most geographers will find very familiar. Bernhard Varenius's 1650Geographica Generalis,for example, contained much of the basic cartography in this book. Yet technology has brought change, and the evolution of the GIS field has now reached maturity, and the benefits to all are self-evident.This book evolved from a tried and trusted approach to basic education. This approach is to first revisit thebasics,such that all students will have the same foundation in underlying principles--both students who have covered themandthose who skipped them during their grade school education. Next, thescopeof the field is covered, and the critical underlying issues are highlighted in the context of the learned principles. Finally, the approach works toward the development ofcritical thinking,using the knowledge base and the basic concepts to develop educated thinking in context.Getting Started with Geographic Information Systemsuses these three stages of learning. In the early chapters, the basics of cartography, geodesy, and geography are covered. The following chapters cover the breadth and a little of the depth of GIS. In the course of this coverage, critical thinking is developed by visiting themes and challenges around issues and applications. Accuracy, data models, how data structure dictates capability, the demands of analysis--all are considered in context.Chapter 1,What Is a GIS?,is an introduction to the concepts of GIS by the examination of alternative definitions, a glimpse at the historical context and heritage of the field, and a guide to the many information sources available, including those on the Internet and the World Wide Web. Chapter 2,GIS's Roots in Cartography,is a basic concepts chapter, introducing the cartographic necessities of map projections, coordinate systems, and geodesy. Chapter 3,Maps as Numbers,begins a consideration of map data representation, necessary for storage of the data within a GIS. The survey approach to data structures and formats is supplemented by consideration of how data structures both facilitate and limit GIS data use.Chapter 4,Getting the Map into the Computer,also covers the basics of computer cartography and database systems, and getting maps into the computer in digital form, the process of geocoding. The broader issue introduced is the relationship between map accuracy and resolution, and the

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