Longley et al: GiSystems & GIScience: Ch. 1 & 2

Chapter 1: Systems, Science, and Study

• “geographic location a vital attribute of activities, policies, strategies, and plans.”
• GIS: appends where to “events, activities, things”
• applications: health care, delivery, highway location, forest management, recreational planning, etc.

Classifying geographic problems

1. scale: building management on campus vs global climate study
2. purpose: practical (optimal route for a Federal Express truck on a specific day) vs intellectual (predicting continental drift patterns, spread of innovations)

positive: hypothesis testing: potential customer spatial behavior in relation to restaurant location
normative: locating new restaurants given results of positivistic studies

3. time: operational (immediate: optimizing response time for 911 calls), tactical (medium-term: annual tree harvest zones), strategic (long-term: planning future retail outlet locations)

The Spatial

• key term in geography
• space: geographic (Earth; “geospatial”) or planetary, the human body, human genome, etc.

Data, Information, Evidence, Knowledge, Wisdom

data: numbers, text, symbols: facts in some organized database

• raw census data

information: synonymous with data or add a degree of selection, purpose, interpretation

• process census data into poverty rates

evidence: between information and knowledge: selecting information to understand a problem.

• selecting factors to assess spatial patterns of poverty (including poverty rates)

knowledge: “information to which value has been added by interpretation based on a particular context, experience, and purpose.”

• codified knowledge: poverty rate statistics by county
• tacit knowledge: critical perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of factors that contribute to poverty rate statistics: similar poverty rates hide differences in ability to cope with poverty

wisdom: requires understanding, experience, insight

The Science of Problem Solving

• knowledge about how things look (forms) vs how they work (processes)

ex) form of suburbanization & sprawl (forms)
ex) policies which drive suburbanization & sprawl (processes)
ex) understanding process leads to prediction: future sprawl

Classification, rules and laws: mapping wetlands (vs non-wetlands) requires rules about what a wetland is that in turn is based on an understanding of the processes (predictability of wetland forming, maintaining, and degeneration forces – laws).

Objectives: define the problem you are attempting to solve

The Technology of Problem Solving

• GIS software (technology, systems) + GIS data + people (GIS community) + concepts and application (science)
• GIS as a mapping tool
• GIS as a geographic problem solver
• GIS as a decision support system
• GIS as a inventory storage device
• GIS as a means of data analysis and understanding
• GIS as a time saver in data storage and processing

ex) DALIS project in Delaware Co. Ohio

A Brief History of GIS

• Canada Geographic Information System (CGIS): 1960s
• US Census DIME program: 1970
• Harvard research: Odyssey GIS: 1960s-70s
• UK Experimental Cartography Unit: computer mapping: late 1960s

• Remote sensing: earth sensing via airplane, satellite

• development of affordable & usable computers

Anatomy of GIS

• The Network:
• sharing of geographic data (intra and internet)
• network applications (intra and internet)
• Hardware: desktop, laptop, handheld, GPS, etc.
• Software: local (ArcGIS) vs remote (Google Maps, DALIS)
• Database: data and its organization: raster vs vector
• Management: organizational rules, procedures, mission
• People

The Business of GIS

• GIS Software business: ESRI
• GIS Data business: US Census, Teleatlas
• GIS Services business: applications
• GIS Publishing: magazines, blogs, books, scholarly journals
• GIS Education: university (non-profit) and for profit providers (education vs training)

GISystems, GIScience, GIStudies

• GISystems: software, hardware, data, training
• GIScience: concepts, theories, research, education: UCGIS
• links to spatial analysis tradition in Geography

GIS & Geography

• close ties: spatial analysis, cartography, remote sensing, concepts, theories
• critique: social implications of GIS

• particular phenomena (easily measurable) and perspectives (normative, business, government) dominate
• experts & dominant social, economic, and cultural perspectives
• techno-centric approach to human problems
• top down (vs bottom up) technology
• limited set of concepts, theories inform GIS

Ch 2: A Gallery of Applications

One Day of Life with GIS

• how GIS runs our lives

What is Driving GIS?

• increasing ease of access to and ease of use of hardware, software, data
• more applications, problems solved = more interest in using GIS
• availability of tools & data for very specific problems (Hydrogeology GIS)
• people: trained, educated, exposed to GIS

Science, Geography, and Applications

• allocation of resources: ex) precision agriculture
• monitoring & understanding spatial distributions: ex) epidemiology
• variations in characteristics among places: ex) soda vs pop
• natural & social processes: ex) coastal erosion
• future management and maintenance: ex) national parks

GIScience Applications

• mapping, measurement, monitoring, modeling, management

Government and Public Service

• tax assessment (methods, scientific foundations, specific problems to solve, management/policy), economic development, transportation and services routing, housing, infrastructure, health, human services, law enforcement, land-use planning, parks and recreation, environmental monitoring, emergency management, citizen information & geodemographics

Business & Service Planning

• geodemographics
• Hierarchical diffusion and Convenience Shopping: Grocery Retailer (methods, scientific foundations, principles, techniques, analysis, practical and scientific outcomes)

Logistics & Transportation

• Emergency evacuation planning: method, conceptual foundations, techniques, analysis outcomes.


• Deforestation: methods, concepts, techniques, analysis, outcomes


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