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    Essentials of Geographic Information Systems

    (15 reviews)

    Jonathan Campbell, UCLA

    MIchael Shin, UCLA

    Copyright Year:

    ISBN 13: 9781453321966

    Publisher: Saylor Foundation

    Language: English

    Formats Available

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    Reviewed by Ashok Pandey, Associate Professor, Massachusetts Maritime Academy on 6/29/20

    As an introductory book on GIS, the authors have done a commendable piece of work. The book has a constant flow connecting all the ten chapters succinctly. Each chapter starts with a ‘learning objective’ and ends with a take –away summary and some... read more

    Reviewed by Patrick Kennelly, GIS Program Director, Central Oregon Community College on 6/20/20

    Essentials of Geographic Information Systems is designed to be a book for an introductory book in GIS. It is comprised of ten chapters which include introduction, map anatomy, data/information and where to find them, data models for GIS,... read more

    Reviewed by Sarah Kelly, Instructor, University of Colorado Boulder on 6/11/20

    This is where I feel the text struggled the most. Some of the basic and very important topics, such as projections, data classification, and visual hierarchy, were mentioned in such brevity that the reader is left without proper instruction on... read more

    Reviewed by Edward Davis, Professor, Depat. of Geography & Earth & Environmental Sciences, Emory and Henry College on 2/23/19

    Campbell has covered GIS in a very complete way - the text may not include every possible element of the subject, but I think all the GIS essentials are given very complete explanations. I particularly like the excellent coverage of data... read more

    Reviewed by Elia Machado, Assistant Professor, Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY) on 6/19/18

    “Essentials of Geographic Information Systems” provides an accessible foundation of GIS and mapping at the undergraduate level, suitable for readers without previous experience with GIS, mapping, or spatial thinking. The book is not very... read more

    Reviewed by Donna Dambrosio, Instructor, University of South Florida on 3/27/18

    This text is an excellent resource as an introductory GIS course for undergraduate and graduate students in a computer technology curriculum who have not had any prior experience with GIS. As the introduction states it “is designed to be... read more

    Reviewed by David Ramos, Professorial Lecturer, American University on 2/1/18

    Comprehensive information about data formats, data operations, and analysis. Less coverage of fundamental concepts, applications, and cartography. The chapters about GIS data formats and data management are thorough and well-organized, though... read more

    Reviewed by Joe Gordon, Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/15/17

    Campbell and Shin’s “Essentials of Geographic Information Systems” provides a comprehensive overview of GIS. They begin with a general introduction to geographic and spatial concepts (and the role of GIS within geography), and proceed to lay out... read more

    Reviewed by Darlette Meekins, Professor, Virignia State University on 6/20/17

    The text is too convoluted for my students to follow alone. For my beginners GIS course, the book neglects to introduce the basic principles. It lacks practical exercises that allow the students to work directly in the ArcGIS workspace. Thus... read more

    Reviewed by Thomas Allen, Professor, Old Dominion University on 6/20/17

    The authors cover a wide range of GIScience that would allow for a core foundation combining geographic abstraction and "spatial thinking," data models and structures, cartographic representation, and importantly, a variety of data sources (e.g.,... read more

    Reviewed by Joanne Logan, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee on 6/20/17

    I was thoroughly impressed by the comprehensiveness of this book. It covered most of the important aspects needed for an Introductory GIS class - from GIS and mapping basics all the way to project management. The book does not currently have a... read more

    Reviewed by Mary Hall-Brown, Senior Lecturer, University of North Carolina Greensboro on 12/5/16

    "Essentials of Geographic Information Systems" truly does cover the essentials of an introductory level GIS textbook. Campbell and Shin's discourse on the basics of GIS is exceptional while still maintaining a very "readable" text. Examples are... read more

    Reviewed by Kathleen Nuckolls, Lecturer, University of Kansas on 8/21/16

    The book is comparable in scope to many GIS texts on the market, and would provide students with a level of detail appropriate for an introductory course. Its straight-forward explanations and emphasis on cartographic literacy make it a... read more

    Reviewed by Stephen Leisz, Associate Professor, Colorado State University on 1/7/16

    The book covers all the essentials of GIS as its title says, and more so. The most comprehensive parts of the book are chapters 2 through 8 which cover Maps and Cartography, the differences between Data and Information, where to find data, Data... read more

    Reviewed by Jeffrey Widener, Assistant Professor, The University of Oklahoma on 1/12/15

    A new textbook covering fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS) may cost a buyer between $25 and $150. Geographers Dr. Jonathan Campbell and Dr. Michael Shin have delivered an open textbook alternative to students and professionals.... read more

    Table of Contents

    • Chapter 1: Introduction
    • Chapter 2: Map Anatomy
    • Chapter 3: Data, Information, and Where to Find Them
    • Chapter 4: Data Models for GIS
    • Chapter 5: Geospatial Data Management
    • Chapter 6: Data Characteristics and Visualization
    • Chapter 7: Geospatial Analysis I: Vector Operations
    • Chapter 8: Geospatial Analysis II: Raster Data
    • Chapter 9: Cartographic Principles
    • Chapter 10: GIS Project Management

    Ancillary Material

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    About the Book

    Essentials of Geographic Information Systems integrates key concepts behind the technology with practical concerns and real-world applications. Recognizing that many potential GIS users are nonspecialists or may only need a few maps, this book is designed to be accessible, pragmatic, and concise. Essentials of Geographic Information Systems also illustrates how GIS is used to ask questions, inform choices, and guide policy. From the melting of the polar ice caps to privacy issues associated with mapping, this book provides a gentle, yet substantive, introduction to the use and application of digital maps, mapping, and GIS.

    In today's world, learning involves knowing how and where to search for information. In some respects, knowing where to look for answers and information is arguably just as important as the knowledge itself. Because Essentials of Geographic Information Systems is concise, focused, and directed, readers are encouraged to search for supplementary information and to follow up on specific topics of interest on their own when necessary. Essentials of Geographic Information Systems provides the foundations for learning GIS, but readers are encouraged to construct their own individual frameworks of GIS knowledge. The benefits of this approach are two-fold. First, it promotes active learning through research. Second, it facilitates flexible and selective learning—that is, what is learned is a function of individual needs and interest.

    Since GIS and related geospatial and navigation technology change so rapidly, a flexible and dynamic text is necessary in order to stay current and relevant. Though essential concepts in GIS tend to remain constant, the situations, applications, and examples of GIS are fluid and dynamic. Though this book is intended for use in introductory GIS courses, Essentials of Geographic Information Systems will also appeal to the large number of certificate, professional, extension, and online programs in GIS that are available today. In addition to providing readers with the tools necessary to carry out spatial analyses, Essentials of Geographic Information Systems outlines valuable cartographic guidelines for maximizing the visual impact of your maps. The book also describes effective GIS project management solutions that commonly arise in the modern workplace.


    About the Contributors


    Jonathan E. Campbell is a GIS analyst and biologist based in the Los Angeles office of ENVIRON. ENVIRON is an international environmental and health sciences consultancy that works with its clients to manage their most challenging environmental, health, and safety issues and attain their sustainability goals. Dr. Campbell has twelve years of experience in the application of GIS and biological services in conjunction with the implementation of environmental policies and compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. He has extensive experience collecting, mapping, and analyzing geospatial data on projects throughout the United States. He holds a PhD in geography from UCLA, an MS in plant biology from Southern Illinois University—Carbondale and a BS in environmental biology from Taylor University. He has been an adjunct professor of GIS and physical geography courses at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Santa Monica College,

    Michael Shin is an associate professor of geography at UCLA. He is also the director of UCLA’s professional certificate program in Geospatial Information Systems and Technology (GIST) and cochair of the Spatial Demography Group at the California Center for Population Research (CCPR). Michael earned his PhD in geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) and also holds an MA in geography and a BA in international affairs from CU as well. Michael teaches Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, Intermediate GIS, Advanced GIS, and related courses in digital cartography, spatial analysis, and geographic data visualization and analysis. He was also recently nominated to receive UCLA’s Copenhaver Award, which recognizes faculty for their innovative use of technology in the classroom. Much of Michael’s teaching materials draw directly from his research interests that span a range of topics from globalization and democracy to the social impacts of geospatial technology. He has also worked with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and USAID to explore and examine food insecurity around the world with GIS.

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