GIS: A Short Introduction (Short Introductions to Geography)

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9780631235323: GIS: A Short Introduction (Short Introductions to Geography)

This guide enables students of human geography to take a critical look at the set of practices, hardware and software that are together described as GIS.


  • A guide to GIS for students of human geography.
  • Outlines the distinct approaches to inquiry employed in GIS and illustrates their relevance for human geographers.
  • Traces the history of GIS and human geography from 1970 to the present.
  • Illustrates the challenges of data collection, classification in the context of multiple stakeholders and epistemological approaches.
  • Tracks the use of GIS in applied contexts through the stages of problem definition, data acquisition and classification, choice of software, spatial analysis and graphic output.
  • Includes an inventory of tools and information related to GIS, including web-based resources.
  • Supported by a website, www.blackwellpublishing.com/schuurman.

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Book Description:

This guide enables students of human geography to take a critical look at the theory and practices that together comprise GIS. It outlines the value - both intellectual and technical - of GIS for human geographers, recognising the positive effects GIS has had on the discipline but also pointing out its limitations. The guide addresses issues important to human geographers such as how data are represented through digital models and how different ontologies emerge from different data models. It explores the influence of cultural and social context on the development of theory in GIS. As a means of illustrating the analytical, interpretative and methodological issues associated with GIS problem solving, the text describes two sets of challenges that GIS users and researchers face. The first includes data collection, organization, standardization and the difficulties inherent in interpreting semantics. The second refers to the problem of developing spatial analysis and models Both sets of challenges draw on contemporary research and use examples from on-going research. It also includes a close reading of a GIS analysis from health geography in order to elucidate the conceptual and operational bases of GIS. A final chapter provides an inventory of tools and information related to GIS, covering web-based resources, current texts, and theoretical approaches and critiques of GIS. The guide is supported by a website featuring contemporary GIS scholars and the intellectual territory they tread.

About the Author:

Nadine Schuurman is Assistant Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University. She did her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia and integrates science and technology studies in solving technical problems in GIS. She has published in both human geography journals such as PIHG, Society and Space, and Gender, Place and Culture as well as GIS journals including Cartographica and Cartography and GIS.

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Schuurman, Nadine
Published by Wiley-Blackwell (2004)
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Nadine Schuurman
Published by Wiley-Blackwell (2004)
ISBN 10: 0631235329 ISBN 13: 9780631235323
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