All Topics

DA-25 - Geospatial Intelligence and National Security

GIS&T exists within the national security enterprise as a multidisciplinary field that is now commonly referred to as Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT).  U.S. GEOINT operations are principally managed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). GEOINT is one among several types of intelligence produced in support of national security, along with Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Measurement and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT), and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). Primary technical GEOINT skill areas include remote sensing, GIS, data management, and data visualization. The intelligence tradecraft is historically characterized as a process involving tasking, collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination (TCPED), and supports decision-making for military, defense, and intelligence operations. The GEOINT enterprise utilizes every type of data collection platform, sensor, and imagery to develop intelligence reports. GEOINT products are used to support situational awareness, safety of navigation, arms control treaty monitoring, natural disaster response, and humanitarian relief operations. Geospatial analysts employed in government positions by NGA or serving in the U.S. armed forces are required to qualify in NGA’s GEOINT Professional Certification (GPC) program, and industry contractors have the option of qualifying under the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Certified GEOINT Professional (CGP) program.

CV-36 - Geovisual Analytics

Geovisual analytics refers to the science of analytical reasoning with spatial information as facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. It is distinguished by its focus on novel approaches to analysis rather than novel approaches to visualization or computational methods alone. As a result, geovisual analytics is usually grounded in real-world problem solving contexts. Research in geovisual analytics may focus on the development of new computational approaches to identify or predict patterns, new visual interfaces to geographic data, or new insights into the cognitive and perceptual processes that users apply to solve complex analytical problems. Systems for geovisual analytics typically feature a high-degree of user-driven interactivity and multiple visual representation types for spatial data. Geovisual analytics tools have been developed for a variety of problem scenarios, such as crisis management and disease epidemiology. Looking ahead, the emergence of new spatial data sources and display formats is expected to spur an expanding set of research and application needs for the foreseeable future. 

CV-35 - Geovisualization

Geovisualization is primarily understood as the process of interactively visualizing geographic information in any of the steps in spatial analyses, even though it can also refer to the visual output (e.g., plots, maps, combinations of these), or the associated techniques. Rooted in cartography, geovisualization emerged as a research thrust with the leadership of Alan MacEachren (Pennsylvania State University) and colleagues when interactive maps and digitally-enabled exploratory data analysis led to a paradigm shift in 1980s and 1990s. A core argument for geovisualization is that visual thinking using maps is integral to the scientific process and hypothesis generation, and the role of maps grew beyond communicating the end results of an analysis or documentation process. As such, geovisualization interacts with a number of disciplines including cartography, visual analytics, information visualization, scientific visualization, statistics, computer science, art-and-design, and cognitive science; borrowing from and contributing to each. In this entry, we provide a definition and a brief history of geovisualization including its fundamental concepts, elaborate on its relationship to other disciplines, and briefly review the skills/tools that are relevant in working with geovisualization environments. We finish the entry with a list of learning objectives, instructional questions, and additional resources.

DA-01 - GIS&T and Agriculture

Agriculture, whether in the Corn Belt of the United States, the massive rice producing areas of Southeast Asia, or the bean harvest of a smallholder producer in Central America, is the basis for feeding the world. Agriculture systems are highly complex and heterogeneous in both space and time. The need to contextualize this complexity and to make more informed decisions regarding agriculture has led to GIS&T approaches supporting the agricultural sciences in many different areas. Agriculture represents a rich resource of spatiotemporal data and different problem contexts; current and future GIScientists should look toward agricultural as a potentially rewarding area of investigation and, likewise, one where new approaches have the potential to help improve the food, environmental, and economic security of people around the world.

DA-04 - GIS&T and Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering, which includes sub-disciplines such as environmental, geotechnical, structural, and water resource engineering, is increasingly dependent on the GIS&T for the planning, design, operation and management of civil engineering infrastructure systems.  Typical tasks include the management of spatially referenced data sets, analytic modeling for making design decisions and estimating likely system behavior and impacts, and the visualization of systems for the decision-making process and garnering stakeholder support.

DA-37 - GIS&T and Epidemiology

Location plays an important role in human health. Where we live, work, and spend our time is associated with different exposures, which may influence the risk of developing disease. GIS has been used to answer key research questions in epidemiology, which is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease. These research questions include describing and visualizing spatial patterns of disease and risk factors, exposure modeling of geographically varying environmental variables, and linking georeferenced information to conduct studies testing hypotheses regarding exposure-disease associations. GIS has been particularly instrumental in environmental epidemiology, which focuses on the physical, chemical, biological, social, and economic factors affecting health. Advances in personal exposure monitoring, exposome research, and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the way GIS can be integrated with epidemiology to study how the environment may impact human health.

DA-16 - GIS&T and Forestry

GIS applications in forestry are as diverse as the subject itself. Many foresters match a common stereotype as loggers and firefighters, but many protect wildlife, manage urban forests, enhance water quality, provide for recreation, and plan for a sustainable future.  A broad range of management goals drives a broad range of spatial methods, from adjacency functions to zonal analysis, from basic field measurements to complex multi-scale modeling. As such, it is impossible to describe the breadth of GIS&T in forestry. This review will cover core ways that geospatial knowledge improves forest management and science, and will focus on supporting core competencies.  

DA-23 - GIS&T and Marine Science

Image courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board


GIS&T has traditionally provided effective technological solutions to the integration, visualization, and analysis of heterogeneous, georeferenced data on land. In recent years, our ability to measure change in the ocean is increasing, not only because of improved measuring devices and scientific techniques, but also because new GIS&T is aiding us in better understanding this dynamic environment. The domain has progressed from applications that merely collect and display data to complex simulation, modeling, and the development of new research methods and concepts.

DA-38 - GIS&T and Retail Business

Where should a retail business occur or locate within a region?  What would that trade area look like?  Should a retail expansion occur and how would that affect sales of other nearby existing locations?  Would a new retail location have the right demographic or socio-economic customer base to be profitable?  These are important questions for retailers to consider.  Within the evolving landscape of GIS, there is more geospatial data than ever before about the potential customer.  In retail, the application of maps and mapping technology is growing to include commercial real estate, logistics, and marketing to name a few.  There has been an increased momentum across commercial applications for geospatial technologies delivered in an easy to comprehend format for a variety of end users.  

DA-33 - GIS&T in Urban and Regional Planning

Professionals within the urban and regional planning domain have long utilized GIS&T to better understand cities through mapping urban data, representing new proposals, and conducting modeling and analysis to help address urban problems. These activities include spatial data collection and management, cartography, and a variety of applied spatial analysis techniques. Urban and regional planning has developed the sub-fields of planning support systems and Geodesign, both of which describe a combination of technologies and methods to incorporate GIS&T into collaborative planning contexts. In the coming years, shifting patterns of global urbanization, smart cities, and urban big data present emerging opportunities and challenges for urban planning professionals.