All Topics

PD-12 - Commercialization of GIS Applications

The commercialization of GIS applications refers to the process of bringing a software solution to market. The process involves three broad categories of tasks: identifying a problem or aspect of a problem that a GIS application can solve or address; designing and creating a GIS application to address the problem; and developing and executing a marketing plan to reach those with the problem, the potential users. Ideally these categories would be addressed in this order, but in practice, aspects of each are likely to be addressed and iterated throughout the commercialization process.

Bringing a GIS application to market requires expertise in 1) the target industry or market (e.g., forestry); 2) software development (how to design and build a product); 3) law (licenses, contracts, taxes); and 4) business (how to fund development, guide the process, evaluate success, marketing). A single individual or organization, referred to as the provider in this discussion, may lead or execute all three categories of tasks, or engage third parties when specific expertise is required.

KE-32 - Competence in GIS&T Knowledge Work

“Competence” is a word that rolls off the tongues of instructional designers, education administrators, and HR people. Others find it hard to swallow. For some GIS&T educators, competence connotes an emphasis on vocational instruction that’s unworthy of the academy. This entry challenges skeptical educators to rethink competence not just as readiness for an occupation, but first and foremost as the readiness to live life to the fullest, and to contribute to a sustainable future. The entry considers the OECD’s “Key Competencies for a Successful Life and Well-Functioning Society,” as well as the specialized GIS&T competencies specified in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Geospatial Technology Competency Model. It presents findings of a survey in which 226 self-selected members of Esri’s Young Professionals Network observe that competencies related to the GTCM’s Software and App Development Segment were under-developed in their university studies. Looking ahead, in the context of an uncertain future in which, some say, many workers are at risk of “technological unemployment,” the entry considers which GIS&T competencies are likely to be of lasting value.

AM-90 - Computational Movement Analysis

Figure 1. Group movement patterns as illustrated in this coordinated escape behavior of a group of mountain goat (Rubicapra rubicapra) evading approaching hikers on the Fuorcla Trupchun near the Italian/Swiss border are at the core of computational movement analysis. Once the trajectories of moving objects are collected and made accessible for computational processing, CMA aims at a better understanding of the characteristics of movement processes of animals, people or things in geographic space.


Computational Movement Analysis (CMA) develops and applies analytical computational tools aiming at a better understanding of movement data. CMA copes with the rapidly growing data streams capturing the mobility of people, animals, and things roaming geographic spaces. CMA studies how movement can be represented, modeled, and analyzed in GIS&T. The CMA toolbox includes a wide variety of approaches, ranging from database research, over computational geometry to data mining and visual analytics.

DM-34 - Conceptual Data Models

Within an initial phase of database design, a conceptual data model is created as a technology-independent specification of the data to be stored within a database. This specification often times takes the form of a formalized diagram.  The process of conceptual data modeling is meant to foster shared understanding among data modelers and stakeholders when creating the specification.  As such, a conceptual data model should be easily readable by people with little or no technical-computer-based expertise because a comprehensive view of information is more important than a detailed view. In a conceptual data model, entity classes are categories of things (person, place, thing, etc.) that have attributes for describing the characteristics of the things.  Relationships can exist between the entity classes.  Entity-relationship diagrams have been and are likely to continue to be a popular way of characterizing entity classes, attributes and relationships.  Various notations for diagrams have been used over the years. The main intent about a conceptual data model and its corresponding entity-relationship diagram is that they should highlight the content and meaning of data within stakeholder information contexts, while postponing the specification of logical structure to the second phase of database design called logical data modeling. 

FC-24 - Conceptual Models of Error and Uncertainty

Uncertainty and error are integral parts of science and technology, including GIS&T, as they are of most human endeavors. They are important characteristics of knowledge, which is very seldom perfect. Error and uncertainty both affect our understanding of the present and the past, and our expectations from the future. ‘Uncertainty’ is sometimes used as the umbrella term for a number of related concepts, of which ‘error’ is the most important in GIS and in most other data-intensive fields. Very often, uncertainty is the result of error (or suspected error).  As concepts, both uncertainty and error are complex, each having several different versions, interpretations, and kinds of impacts on the quality of GIS products, and on the uses and decisions that users may make on their basis. This section provides an overview of the kinds of uncertainty and common sources of error in GIS&T, the role of a number of additional related concepts in refining our understanding of different forms of imperfect knowledge, the problems of uncertainty and error in the context of decision-making, especially regarding actions with important future consequences, and some standard as well as more exploratory approaches to handling uncertainties about the future. While uncertainty and error are in general undesirable, they may also point to unsuspected aspects of an issue and thus help generate new insights.

CP-13 - Cyberinfrastructure

Cyberinfrastructure (sometimes referred to as e-infrastructure and e-science) integrates cutting-edge digital environments to support collaborative research and education for computation- and/or data-intensive problem solving and decision making (Wang 2010).

CV-29 - Design and Aesthetics

Design and aesthetics are fundamental to cartographic practice. Developing students’ skills in design and aesthetics is a critical part of cartography education, yet design is also one of the most difficult part of the cartographic process. The cartographic design process of planning, creating, critiquing, and revising maps provides a method for making maps with intentional design decisions, utilizing an understanding of aesthetics to promote clarity and cohesion to attract the user and facilitate an emotional response. In this entry, cartographic design and the cartographic design process are reviewed, and the concepts of aesthetics, style, and taste are explained in the context of cartographic design.

PD-05 - Design, Development, Testing, and Deployment of GIS Applications

A systems development life cycle (SDLC) denes and guides the activities and milestones in the design, development, testing, and de ployment of software applications & information systems. Various choices of SDLC are available for different types of software applications & information systems and compositions of development teams and stakeholders. While the choice of an SDLC for building geographic information system (GIS) applications is similar to that of other types of software applications, critical decisions in each phase of the GIS development life cycle (GiSDLC) should take into account essential questions concern ing the storage, access, and analysis of (geo)spatial data for the target application. This article aims to introduce various considerations in the GiSDLC, from the perspectives of handling (geo)spatial data. The article rst introduces several (geo)spatial processes and types as well as various modalities of GIS applications. Then the article gives a brief introduction to an SDLC, including explaining the role of (geo)spatial data in the SDLC. Finally, the article uses two existing real-world applications as an example to highlight critical considerations in the GiSDLC.

FC-42 - Distance Operations

Distance is a central concept in geography, and consequently, there are various types of operations that leverage the concept of distance. This short article introduces common distance measures, the purpose of distance operations, different types of operations and considerations, as well as sample applications in the physical and social domains. Distance operations can be performed on both vector or raster data, but the operations and results may differ. While performing distance operations, it is important to remember how distance is conceptualized while performing the operation.

CP-29 - Enterprise GIS

Enterprise GIS is the implementation of GIS infrastructure, processes and tools at scale within the context of an organization, shaped by the prevailing information technology patterns of the day. It can be framed as an infrastructure enabling a set of capabilities, and a process for establishing and maintaining that infrastructure. Enterprise GIS facilitates the storage, sharing and dissemination of geospatial information products (data, maps, apps) within an organization and beyond. Enterprise GIS is integrated into, and shaped by the business processes, culture and context of an organization. Enterprise GIS implementations require general-purpose IT knowledge in the areas of performance tuning, information security, maintenance, interoperability, and data governance. The specific enabling technologies of Enterprise GIS will change with time, but currently the prevailing pattern is a multi-tiered services-oriented architecture supporting delivery of GIS capabilities on the web, democratizing access to and use of geospatial information products.