Nature of Geographic Information Systems
David DiBiase, Pennsylvania State University
Copyright Year: 2014
Conditions of Use
Overall, this book well covers essential knowledge about GIS and related data. I am impressed with very comprehensive contents and detailed information on a few aspects of GIS. For example, I enjoyed reading the chapter on land surveying and GPS.... read more
Overall, this book well covers essential knowledge about GIS and related data. I am impressed with very comprehensive contents and detailed information on a few aspects of GIS. For example, I enjoyed reading the chapter on land surveying and GPS. I really like "Try this" that allows students to pause and think. However, it missed in-depth discussion on a few important things such as data model/structure and GIS data analysis. I definitely will give its comprehensiveness a 4-star rating if the title is like Nature of GIS Data.
Overall, the descriptions of most concepts looks accurate. But, some definitions in Chapter 1 could be more rigorous. For example, the definitions of information and information system tend to be in a narrower scope. I suggest providing comparative definitions for important concepts. Citing definitions from ESRI or other geographers may be helpful.
The textbook provides contents with relevance to the most essential knowledge. So, I don't think the text will become obsolete within a short period of time. But, I would like to point out that most of references are quite old. Rarely the references published after 2010 were cited across the textbook. So, it misses the opportunities of discussing many 'hot' topics like geospatial big data and VGIS.
The text mainly uses plain language to explain complex concepts. So it does not read like the lengthy scholastic work with full of jargon. Some important concepts like 'scale' were explained quite well.
The text is overall consistent in the use of terminology. But in Chapter 1, I did find a few places where terminology like GIS were not explained consistently.
Quite a few subsections (e.g., 1.19) may be merged or simply removed. Some lengthy quotes could be totally avoided.
I feel the organization of this textbook should be much improved. The current organization makes the reading flow a bit difficult. I find imbalanced contents occurring to many subsections. For example, Sec 1.14 should have much more weight than Sec. 1.12 given the significance of the topic. Some parts involve lengthy quotes from people's words (such as Chapter 5).
There are a few issues that could be fixed. For some reason, many spaces were missing in lines. The figures could be labeled. Some video links are broken (why not use YouTube?). In the PDF version of the book, I found most of figures are way too small to be legible.
Overall, the text is fine. There are a few places with minor grammatical imperfection. Some sentences could be written in a more rigorous manner.
I did not find any apparent problem here.
As there are many paragraphs with verbal explanation, more figures could be added to support the contents. Dr. Tomlinson's work may be described as part of GIS history.
The depth of the material is extensively covered in such an array of geographical topics that perhaps overwhelms the novice. The book appears to cover both the breadth and depth of the field. That might be all together appropriate to the scope and... read more
The depth of the material is extensively covered in such an array of geographical topics that perhaps overwhelms the novice. The book appears to cover both the breadth and depth of the field. That might be all together appropriate to the scope and requirements of the course within a program such as a GIS certificate. Perhaps a choice can be made to focus on the general survey with the practical applications and then direct in-depth study to a second course. Having an index and a glossary is a helpful addition.
Well researched, documented, with an extensive bibliography for each chapter. The nature of the environment means that hyperlinks will break. Is there a tool that will survey the book and test the links? Perhaps use another provision to handle the issue such a the go-back machine or do the hyper jump to add within the book imbuing the appropriate annotation. Then also to take into account the static/dynamic nature of the linked material such as the Census that might have pointed to an older timeframe.
Relevant source material and real world applications are presented to give the reader a perspective of applied professional methodology, operation and innovation. The application of Census data to demographic social factors is an example of this as is the topographical mappings of Mars. It is relevant to personal cognition shown in the human proclivity to discerning geographical information. An example was using certain means such line scales and colors in contrast to pie forms and grids. It is generally easier to assess geographic environment vertically than horizontally. In the time of the Census 2020, Corona 2 virus implications, and a rapidly changing world scene makes this field relevant to the upmost. So many of us have tracked the data related to GIS spheres and comparisons of divergent landscapes and demographic overlays. The book addresses these studies in aforementioned Census illustrations, global studies in the work of organizations charged with studying international affairs. This involves the co-dependent bond of health, economics, human interaction, and the changing physical environment coupled with cultural dynamics.
The author brings in the details step by step for complex concepts involving mathematics, geographical science, and physics. The work was started in 1997 and can be upgraded with the power of online facility. Interactive graphical material, layered graphics make for a dynamic progression extending beyond just having the text. Upgrade the interface to match the technology available to us. Use more hyperlinks in the text for cross reference and to connect the topics, concepts and applications. For example there’s a throwback to Vectors and Rasters in 7.4, thus have a hyperlink to that section.
Most consistent in layout and structure. The chapters begin with overview, objectives, checklist and then the topic sections are introduced. There are Practice Quizzes and “Try this” practical assignments interspersed through chapter. A summary, invitation to comments and questions, and bibliography conclude each chapter.
I appreciated how the first chapter introduces the basics of Data and Information building on Database basics then delving into geographic information science and technology which are later developed. The subsequent chapters explore the concepts and then the practical applications in topology, land surveying, GPS, and national data infrastructure. If the concepts can be tied to the specific applications and case studies in a section such as an appendix.
Chapters are navigated by scrolling down using the mouse or scroll bar. It’s difficult to get a perspective on the length of chapter and hard to rapidly move through the chapter. Can there be a pop-up menu or some other means with hyperlinks to direct to each section? It was also mentioned to have access to each chapter/section and a glossary.
While reading the chapter, the link list to the other chapters is missed. It is accessible at the beginning of the chapter and then disappears. It would be a valued add-in to have such access to other chapters with their respective sections. Having a glossary that can open with a right-click or a side bar would be helpful. To enliven the text, use online enhancements that extend the book beyond seeming like a hard-copy text book with multimedia that is current and other facilities that the online form enables. There are interesting and insightful graphic figures that are small and would benefit with a link to enlarge.
There is a trend of systemic errors of a preposition preceding a bolded reference term such as in 1.10 " ofgradient " Perhaps there are Open Resource tools to supplement the word processing.
Text covers the span of geographic implications on a global and local level such as Census, and wide ranging government resources.
The Edge browser did give certificate errors on occasion. The last chapter 9 has fascinating potential to be a section in-flux to bring in the most up to date applications that illustrate the current edge of analytics, illustrations for outcomes in map polygon overlay, smart systems in regional screenings, local disqualifications and exceptions. AI in GIS can help us understand the current world, the forecasting of changes, and the proactive transition and measured adaption to improve our quality of life.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Data and Information
- Chapter 2: Scales and Transformations
- Chapter 3: Census Data and Thematic Maps
- Chapter 4: TIGER,Topology and Geocoding
- Chapter 5: Land Surveying and GPS
- Chapter 6: National Spatial Data Infrastructure I
- Chapter 7: National Spatial Data Infrastructure II
- Chapter 8: Remotely Sensed Image Data
- Chapter 9: Integrating Geographic Data
About the Book
The purpose of this text is to promote understanding of the Geographic Information Science and Technology enterprise (GIS&T, also known as “geospatial”).
About the Contributors
David DiBiase, Senior Lecturer, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, and Director of Education, Industry Solutions, Esri. Instructors and contributors: Jim Sloan, Research Assistant, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute; and Ryan Baxter, Senior Research Assistant, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.