Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS
Joseph K. Berry, Colorado State University
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Online information at http://www.innovativegis.com/basis/Books/SpatialReasoning.htm
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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 GeoWorld magazine from
1993 to 1996, 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 informs.
Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS (Berry 1995) discusses the fundamental elements of
GIS that make it different from traditional map structure, content, processing
and use. This incisive and witty book
describes the development of geographic information systems (GIS) technology
from maps that simply tell us “Where is what?” to systems that help us determine
“So what, why and what if?” It
encourages new understanding of mapped data, data analysis procedures, and the
uses of maps, fostering an appreciation of GIS as an effective analytical tool in
many complex processes. GIS is a new and
rapidly evolving technology, and as such it presents new opportunities as well
as new pitfalls. This book engages
the reader through perceptive and relaxed discussion that investigates why GIS
technology is “as different from as it is similar” to traditional map
The book also contains a valuable treatise of The Most Beautiful Formulae
in GIS by Nigle Waters and an extensive resource
Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS
This is a collection
of Joe Berry’s popular "Beyond mapping" columns published in GIS World
from 1993 to 1996. It builds on an earlier book, Beyond Mapping:
Concepts, Algorithms, and Issues in GIS and is similar in its lighthearted
style and extensive use of examples to convey underlying GIS theory. In Spatial Reasoning, Berry extends,
and in some cases elaborates on, the discussion of the map analysis “toolbox”
used in GIS modeling and its creative application. As Will Rogers noted, “Even if you are on the
right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” This second book in the series is intended to
keep you moving beyond basic mapping.
presented in Spatial Reasoning 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"
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 — Is the GIS
technology cart in front of the horse? Data mining, predictive modeling and
dynamic simulation are new applications of GIS
used to uncover spatial relationships and sensitivities among mapped data.
This section discusses the revolutionary procedures identifying the
driving forces, trends and forecasts of the a spatial
Understanding GIS — As GIS
moves from graphical inventories to spatial reasoning, new procedures must be
developed to communicate the logic that supports GIS
models. An end user must interact with a model—a spatial spreadsheet—that
can present alternative perspectives. This section describes the
interactive use of a map pedigree linking GIS
commands to a flowchart of model logic.
Topic 2 From
Field Samples to Mapped Data — In the simplest sense, statistics are
merely a collection of numbers. Traditional statistical analysis characterize the "typical response" in a
data set, whereas spatial statistics seek to map the data’s distribution in
geographic space. This section compares the two approaches and
investigates various techniques of spatial interpolation.
Implementing GIS — GIS technology begins with a through
understanding of its intended applications and operating environment. This
section presents an applications-driven procedure for assessing GIS information needs within an organization and
establishes a hierarchy of questions it can address.
Topic 4 Toward
and Honest GIS — By
their nature, maps are abstractions of real conditions. They approximate
the positioning of tangible or conceptual features on our landscape with
varying degrees of certainty. This section introduces the concept of
using a "shadow map" of certainty to track error propagation in GIS models.
Topic 5 A Framework for GIS
Modeling — The use of GIS to model complex spatial relationships is
increasing rapidly. Our understanding of the types and approaches of
models, however, is based on decades of nonspatial modeling experience.
This section presents a classification framework for GIS
models and a flowcharting methodology.
Alternative Data Structures — At the
heart of GIS is data. How data are
structured, in large part, determines a system’s performance, capabilities and
breadth of applications. This section describes alternative approaches to
vector and raster data structures.
Topic 7 Organizing
the Map Analysis Toolbox — What GIS
can do depends on the depth of the spatial information available to the
computer, tempered by the depth of understanding of the analytical operations
by those who use it. This section discusses spatial topology and its
extension to the classification of analytical GIS
Topic 8 The
Anatomy of a GIS Model — Although
GIS models address a wide
diversity of applications, the basic structure of most models are quite
similar. This section compares several GIS
models to illustrate different modeling approaches and varying levels of
results they generate.
Topic 9 Putting GIS in the Hands of People — The Global
Positioning System (GPS) focuses
on real-time positioning in space while remote sensing (RS) technology focuses
on monitoring and classifying the landscape. This section covers the
underlying principles of these related fields and their integration into a GIS/GPS/RS
Topic 10 A
Futuristic GIS — Spatial Analysis is more than mapping and
spatial database management. It involves deriving new information to
express relationships based on the relative positions of map features.
This section establishes a framework for spatial analysis and demonstrates
several of its import aspects.
Epilog — GIS
technology is thought of as hardware and software. However, the "humanware" component often determines the usefulness
of the system. This section discusses the human factor in GIS and the linkages and distinctions among data,
information, knowledge and wisdom.
Appendices — Appendices are included that describe the
companion software for self-learning GIS
concepts and applications, a listing of GIS
resources, and a collection of mathematical formulae used in GIS by Nigel Waters.
The Spatial Reasoning for Effective
GIS book can be purchased online from Wiley.com and Amazon.com.
For more information about the Spatial Reasoning 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