GIS: A Short Introduction
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. The guide 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 all the illustrations from the book in full colour.