Concepts, Algorithms and Issues in GIS
Joseph K. Berry, Colorado State University
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Online information at http://www.innovativegis.com/basis/Books/BeyondMapping.htm
…available for purchase online from Wiley.com and Amazon.com
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Most desktop mapping and GIS applications have focused on mapping and
spatial data management for viewing and geo-query of mapped data. However,
in many ways geographic information systems (GIS) technology is as different from
as it is similar to traditional map processing.
Map analysis and GIS
modeling involve entirely new spatial reasoning concepts and procedures that
are not reflected in our paper map legacy.
This compilation, based on Joe
Berry’s popular "Beyond Mapping" columns in GIS
World magazine from 1998 to 1993, discusses the new breed of map analysis tools
and how they can be used to better characterize and communicate spatial
relationships. It is written for GIS
professionals, as well as novices, in a witty style that entertains as well as
Beyond Mapping: Concepts, Algorithms and Issues in GIS (Berry,
1993) explores the basic concepts of map analysis and discusses emerging issues
as GIS moves from the realm of
research to widespread applications. The book is structured so the reader
first can examine the broad issues and then delve into more detail. It is
a transformative book describing the expansion of geographic technology from
maps that simply tell us "Where is what" to systems that help us
decide "So what?" It encourages new understanding of mapped
data, data analysis procedures and map uses, fostering an appreciation of GIS
as an effective analytical tool. Thousands of professionals and over a
hundred universities use the book to bridge the gap from simply GIS-ing to map analysis and modeling.
The book also contains an extensive resource appendix and a Glossary of
GIS Terms written by Bruce L. Kessler, originally published in the Journal of
Beyond Mapping: Concepts, Algorithms and Issues in GIS
This is a
collection of Joe Berry’s popular "Beyond mapping" columns published
in GIS World from 1989 to 1993. In this compilation, Berry explores the
concepts of geographic information systems (GIS)
technology and discusses the issues involved as GIS
moves from the researcher to the general user.
This emerging technology goes beyond traditional mapping and spatial
database management to new concepts and procedures for modeling the complex
interrelations among spatial data of all kinds. Beyond Mapping is
designed so the general user can read about broad issues then delve into more detail, even to the algorithm level.
presented in Beyond Mapping is cross-referenced to the companion GIS Concepts Digital Slide Shows (gCON) and Tutorial Map Analysis Package (tMAP) software. The gCON
system is designed for self-learning map analysis concepts through slide sets
demonstrating GIS procedures and
applications. The tMAP software program is
designed for self-learning map analysis concepts through "hands-on"
Note: The original gCON Digital Slides
Shows have been replaced by the online MapCalc Description and Examples
document and the tMAP software has been replaced by
the MapCalc Learner software (free download at www.innovativegis.com, under “Software”).
Introduction — There are some similarities, but many
differences, between traditional and GIS
maps. This section describes the conceptual differences and terminology used in
vector and raster map formats and an overall organizational structure for GIS databases.
Topic 1 Maps As Data and Data Structure
Implications — The full impact of numerical representation of spatial data
in GIS is just beginning to be
recognized. In this section the implications of vector and raster data
models on encoding, storage, and analysis are discussed. The inherent
statistical characterizations of mapped data and their implications in map
analysis are described.
Topic 2 Measuring Effective Distance and
Connectivity — Before GIS
technology, the concept of distance was as simple and straightforward as a
ruler. Now the traditional concept of distance is first extended to one
of proximity, then to one of actual movement in geographic space, around and
through barriers. Procedures and applications of optimal path analysis
over continuous map surfaces also are presented.
Topic 3 Roving Windows: Assessment of
Neighborhood Characteristics — Information surrounding a
point often provides insight into spatial problem solving. Neighborhood
summaries can be derived from surface configuration to produce slope, aspect
and profile maps. Or, the summaries can relate to the context of the
neighborhood for such procedures as spatial interpolation, smoothing, and
diversity analysis. More than any other classes of operations, “roving
windows” provide entirely new applications for map analysis.
Topic 4 What GIS
Is and Isn’t: Spatial Data Mapping, Management, Modeling and More — Most initial applications of GIS automate current cartographic practices.
However, the greatest return on investment in GIS
technology is realized through entirely new applications inspired by the new
set of map analysis tools. This section develops an awareness of the
considerations and conditions that move user perspective from computer mapping
to spatial database management to application modeling and beyond.
Topic 5 Assessing Variability, Shape, and
Pattern of Map Features — The shape and pattern of landscape features are readily
apparent to the eye but historically difficult to quantify. This section
describes several indices used in characterizing the configuration and
arrangement of features.
Topic 6 Overlaying Maps and Characterizing
Error Propagation — Overlaying
maps is at the heart of most GIS
applications. However, the propagation of errors needs to be
characterized and included with the overlay results. This section describes
approaches used in establishing map uncertainty and assessing error
Topic 7 Overlaying Maps and Summarizing the
Results — In GIS
overlaying maps goes beyond traditional procedures of "sandwiching"
map sheets on a light-table. In this section, procedures for
point-by-point, region-wide, and map-wide overlay summaries are described.
Numerous applications and the underlying concepts are presented.
Topic 8 Scoping GIS:
What to Consider — GIS technology is a radical
departure from traditional map processing; therefore, assessing its potential
within an organization needs to go beyond traditional cost-benefit
analysis. This section describes the major organizational, social, and
personal ramifications of implementing GIS.
Topic 9 Slope, Distance and Connectivity:
Their Algorithms — At
first encounter, many of the advanced GIS
analytical operations are intimidating. However, a basic understanding of
the computer’s procedures is needed to assess the potential and limitations of
the new tools. This section describes various approaches used in
computing slope, effective distance, optimal paths and visual connectivity.
Topic 10 Cartographic and Spatial Modeling — Many GIS
applications take the technology well beyond mapping and into the larger field
of mathematical modeling. This section discusses command
"macro" construction, the mathematical implications, and the use of GIS models in consensus building and conflict
Epilog — We have been creating and
using mapped for thousands of years. This section looks at GIS’s history, current trends and probable future.
Appendices — Appendices are included that
describe the companion software for self-learning GIS
concepts and applications, a listing of GIS
resources, and a glossary of terms by Bruce L. Kessler.
The Beyond Mapping:
Concepts, Algorithms and Issues in GIS book can be purchased online from Wiley.com and Amazon.com.
For more information about the Beyond Mapping book and
supporting materials, contact:
Berry & Associates // Spatial
Information Systems (BASIS), Fort Collins, Colorado
Website www.innovativegis.com — Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also see the online Beyond Mapping Compilation Series posted at