Essentials of Geographic Information Systems integrates key concepts behind the technology with practical concerns and real-world applications. Recognizing that many potential GIS users are nonspecialists or may only need a few maps, this book is designed to be accessible, pragmatic, and concise. Essentials of Geographic Information Systems also illustrates how GIS is used to ask questions, inform choices, and guide policy. From the melting of the polar ice caps to privacy issues associated with mapping, this book provides a gentle, yet substantive, introduction to the use and application of digital maps, mapping, and GIS.
The goals of this textbook are to help students acquire the technical skills of using software and managing a database, and develop research skills of collecting data, analyzing information and presenting results. We emphasize that the need to investigate the potential and practicality of GIS technologies in a typical planning setting and evaluate its possible applications. GIS may not be necessary (or useful) for every planning application, and we anticipate these readings to provide the necessary foundation for discerning its appropriate use. Therefore, this textbook attempts to facilitate spatial thinking focusing more on open-ended planning questions, which require judgment and exploration, while developing the analytical capacity for understanding a variety of local and regional planning challenges.
While this textbook provides the background for understanding the concepts in GIS as applicable to urban and regional planning, it is best when accompanied by a hands-on tutorial, which will enable readers to develop an in-depth understanding of the specific planning applications of GIS. Chapters in this text book are either composed by the editors using Creative Common materials, or linked to a book chapter scanned copy in the library reserve. In the end of each chapter, we also provided several discussion questions, together with contextual applications through some web links.
The discipline of geography bridges the social sciences with the physical sciences and can provide a
framework for understanding our world. By studying geography, we can begin to understand the
relationships and common factors that tie our human community together. The world is undergoing
globalization on a massive scale as a result of the rapid transfer of information and technology and
the growth of modes of transportation and communication. The more we understand our world, the
better prepared we will be to address the issues that confront our future. There are many approaches
to studying world geography. This textbook takes a regional approach and focuses on themes that
illustrate the globalization process, which in turn assists us in better understanding our global
community and its current affairs.