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Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS

  by Joseph K. Berry (1995, John Wiley Publishers)

can be purchased online from and ($70)

Most desktop mapping and GIS applications have focused on mapping and spatial data management for viewing and geo-query of mapped data.  Map analysis and GIS modeling involve entirely new spatial reasoning concepts and procedures that are not reflected in our paper map legacy.  These books, based on Joe Berry’s popular "Beyond Mapping" columns in GIS World magazine, discuss the new breed of map analysis tools and how they can be used to better characterize and communicate spatial relationships.  Beyond Mapping: Concepts, Algorithms and Issues in GIS (Berry, 1993), is written for GIS professionals, as well as novices, in a witty style that entertains as well as informs. 

Spatial Reasoning 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.  Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS (Berry, 1995) continues with the same format, style and informative discussions.  It is an incisive 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 books to bridge the gap from simply GISing to map analysis and modeling.

The MapCalc software by Red Hen Systems provides hands-on exercises supporting the topics in this book.  Educational, Professional and Developer versions of the software are under development at Red Hen Systems (  The Educational Version is scheduled for release August 31, 2000 in both student and instructor forms…

ü      Student Tutorial Version (CD) with MapCalc and Surfer* Tutorial systems, Exercises/databases, application demos and text; 100x100 configuration; single seat license for educational use only; US$21.95 plus shipping and handling.
ü      Instructor Version (CD) with all of the above plus lecture PowerPoint’s, additional exercises and exam questions/answers; multiple seat license for single computer lab; educational use only; US$495.00 plus shipping and handling.

*Surfer is a popular surface modeling package by Golden Software, Inc.  It is bundled with the educational versions of MapCalc and provides complementary exercises.  For more information on Surfer, link to

An evaluation copy of MapCalc is available for download at…
    <To be announced>


Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS

This incisive and witty book describes the development of geographic information systems (GIS) technology from maps that simply answered the question, "Where is it?" to systems that help us answer the question "Why is it?"  Spatial Reasoning further develops understanding of mapped data, data analysis procedures and the uses of maps.  It also fosters appreciation of GIS as an effective analytical tool to implement with complex processes.  Berry’s newest book keeps you moving beyond basic mapping.  The material 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 system is designed for self-learning map analysis concepts through "hands-on" experience.

  • 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 paradigm.
  • Topic 1 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.
  • Topic 3 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.
  • Topic 6 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 operations.
  • 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 field unit.
  • Topic 10 A Futuristic GIS Spatial Analysis mis 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 and

    (US$49.95 plus shipping and handling as of 8/00)

For more information about the BM/SR books and gCON/tMAP software contact :
Berry & Associates, 2000 South College Avenue, Suite 300, Fort Collins, CO 80525: Phone 970-490-2155;Fax -2300; Email