GIS Technology in Transition


Moving Maps to Mapped Data, Spatial Analysis and Beyond



Presentation by  Joseph K. Berry


For the  2003 Northwest GIS User Group Meeting

September 16, 2003    Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington



Most human endeavors are inherently spatial.  The world we live in surrounds us with opportunities and challenges that are spatially dependent on “Where is What” tempered by “Why and So What” within cognitive contexts.  In just three decades GIS technology has revolutionized our perspective on what constitutes a map and the information it can project.  The underlying data are complex, as two descriptors are required— precise location as well as a clear description.  Manually drafted maps emphasized accurate location of physical features.  Today, maps have evolved from guides of physical space into management tools for exploring spatial relationships and perceptions.  The journey from the map room to the conference room has transformed maps from static wall hangings into interactive mapped data that address complex spatial issues.  It also has sparked an entirely new analytical tool set that provides needed insight for effective decision-making.  This new perspective marks a turning point in the use of maps— from one emphasizing physical descriptions of geographic space, to one of interpreting mapped data and successfully communicating spatially based decision factors.  This presentation will investigate the context, conditions and forces driving the transition from maps to mapped data, spatial analysis and beyond.


Dr. Berry is the principal of Berry and Associates // Spatial Information Systems and has been active in the development of GIS technology as a teacher, researcher and consultant for over thirty years.  He authors the popular Beyond Mapping column in GeoWorld and is the Keck Scholar in the Geosciences at the University of Denver. 


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