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DM-85 - Point, Line, and Area Generalization

Generalization is an important and unavoidable part of making maps because geographic features cannot be represented on a map without undergoing transformation. Maps abstract and portray features using vector (i.e. points, lines and polygons) and raster (i.e pixels) spatial primitives which are usually labeled. These spatial primitives are subjected to further generalization when map scale is changed. Generalization is a contradictory process. On one hand, it alters the look and feel of a map to improve overall user experience especially regarding map reading and interpretive analysis. On the other hand, generalization has documented quality implications and can sacrifice feature detail, dimensions, positions or topological relationships. A variety of techniques are used in generalization and these include selection, simplification, displacement, exaggeration and classification. The techniques are automated through computer algorithms such as Douglas-Peucker and Visvalingam-Whyatt in order to enhance their operational efficiency and create consistent generalization results. As maps are now created easily and quickly, and used widely by both experts and non-experts owing to major advances in IT, it is increasingly important for virtually everyone to appreciate the circumstances, techniques and outcomes of generalizing maps. This is critical to promoting better map design and production as well as socially appropriate uses.

DA-31 - GIS&T and Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) are an important part of the GIS&T ecosystem and they engage in numerous activities that are critical for students, researchers, and practitioners. Traditionally these organizations have been at the forefront of developing infrastructures and services that connect researchers and others to historical and contemporary GIS data, including print maps. More recently, as a result of greater interest in spatial thinking and research, these organizations and institutions have become a place for instruction, outreach, and practice. This entry will discuss the historical role that LAMs have played in supporting and developing GIS&T as well as focus on current trends.

DA-18 - GIS&T and Disaster Management

Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) has a long-running tradition of using spatially-oriented methodologies and representational techniques such as cartography and mapping to address hazards and disasters. This tradition remains important as ever as global society faces newer and more complex challenges resulting from climate change and new challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. GIS&T has become an invisible technology within the disaster management cycle of planning and preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Spatial technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing techniques, spatial data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are now widespread and pervasive. Despite these advancements, there is more that can be done to incorporate GIS&T perspectives into disaster management. In this article, we outline important conceptual ideas to consider on the use of GIS&T for disaster management, disaster management organizations that use GIS&T, and practical information to orient newcomers to this exciting and important interdisciplinary combination.

DA-08 - GIS&T and Archaeology

topo map and LiDAR image

Figure 1.  USGS topo map and bare earth (LiDAR) image of Tennessee’s Mound Bottom State Archaeological Area. Bare Earth DEM processed by Zada Law.

Archaeology provides a glimpse into the lives of past peoples and histories that may have otherwise been forgotten. Geographic Information Systems and Technology (GIS&T) has become an invaluable tool in this endeavor by advancing the identification, documentation, and study of archaeological resources. Large scale mapping techniques have increased the efficiency of site surveys even in challenging environments. GIS&T refers to such things as remote sensing, spatial analysis, and mapping tools. The use of GIS&T for archaeology is a truly interdisciplinary field as it borrows principles from geology, oceanography, botany, meteorology and more in order to further the science. This chapter discusses some of the primary GIS&T tools and techniques used in archaeology and the primary ways in which they are applied.

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.

DM-60 - Spatial Data Infrastructures

Spatial data infrastructure (SDI) is the infrastructure that facilitates the discovery, access, management, distribution, reuse, and preservation of digital geospatial resources. These resources may include maps, data, geospatial services, and tools. As cyberinfrastructures, SDIs are similar to other infrastructures, such as water supplies and transportation networks, since they play fundamental roles in many aspects of the society. These roles have become even more significant in today’s big data age, when a large volume of geospatial data and Web services are available. From a technological perspective, SDIs mainly consist of data, hardware, and software. However, a truly functional SDI also needs the efforts of people, supports from organizations, government policies, data and software standards, and many others. In this chapter, we will present the concepts and values of SDIs, as well as a brief history of SDI development in the U.S. We will also discuss the components of a typical SDI, and will specifically focus on three key components: geoportals, metadata, and search functions. Examples of the existing SDI implementations will also be discussed.  

DA-32 - GIS&T and Natural Resource Management

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a geospatial technology that has matured with the help of natural resource management applications. Since its early beginnings as an extension of cartography, GIS has been used to capture, manipulate, store, analyze and manage data. GIS has matured as additional sciences began to adopt and apply it to multidisciplinary problems. In the mid-90s, much of the emphasis moved to desktop GIS making the access and use more mainstream and capable on personal desktop computers. Government agencies with more available and distributed datasets through the internet enabled more applications and use across disciplines because of the access. Soil scientists, wildlife biologists, hydrologists, engineers, planners, and others could now pursue spatial problems efficiently and effectively. More and more advances were being made in the sciences due to the new technology. The following discussion will focus on the use and applications of GIS for natural resource management. Areas covered in this review will be for forestry, watershed analysis, wildlife management, and landscape analysis. First a background of the applications will be introduced followed by a discussion of their applicability and uses.

DA-13 - GIS&T in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

Linking crime and place has been the objective of crime mapping since the early nineteenth century. Contemporary scholars have since investigated spatio-temporal crime patterns to explain why crime concentrates in certain places during certain times. Collectively, this body of research has identified various environmental and situational factors that contribute to the formation of crime hot spots and spawned widespread crime prevention and reduction strategies commonly referred to as place-based policing.  Environmental criminology guides the bulk of this crime-and-place research and provides a means for interpreting place and crime. The chapter details theories behind place-based policing, examples of place-based policing strategies that leverage geographic information science and its associated technologies (GIS&T), and relevant data visualization tools used by law enforcement to implement place-based strategies to address crime.

DA-05 - GIS&T and Local Government

GIS is an important tool for local governments. It is utilized to provide spatial information, metrics, and visualizations to constituents, businesses, and decision-makers. Internally, a well-managed GIS can be the basis for innovation and process improvement and can be a single source for employees to find a plethora of integrated data. This entry discusses how GIS supports local government, important considerations for maintaining a successful local government GIS, and current trends. This entry is based on the author’s experience in a GIS program at a medium-sized city in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States. Not everything discussed may apply to other areas of the country or world. Additionally, smaller-sized programs may not have the resources to implement everything discussed. The key purpose of this entry is to provide students and instructors with tangible examples of processes, skills, and organizational structures that make for an effective local government GIS.

DA-36 - GIS&T and Public Policy

Public policy is the formal and informal guiding principles that are used by governments and other decision-making entities to guide our everyday lives. Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) has had an impact on the public policy process since GIS&T’s earliest beginnings in the 1960s. Advances in the development and availability of both geospatial technology and geospatial data paralleled a growing use of data-driven rational planning and decision-making models in policy making at all levels of government. Today more than ever, successful public policy depends on high-quality data and the technology that communicates its meaning effectively. Beyond the rational application of scientific or systematic methods, public policy is about values and how values affect, and are affected by, policies. This requires delivery of credible information in a transparent, understandable form not only to decision makers responsible for adopting policy, but also to various categories of stakeholders whose behavior will be impacted in some way by the policy’s implementation. GIS&T continues to play an important role in that endeavor, including making value conflicts more seeable and knowable. Included in the entry is a summary of the public policy process and its participants, followed by a brief overview of how GIST’s role in public policy has evolved over the last 50 years. The entry concludes by outlining a sample of real-world applications and presenting a discussion of related issues and future considerations.

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