Geographic information science

Geographic information science

Geographic information science (GISc or GISci) is the academic theory behind the development, use, and application of geographic information systems (GIS). It is concerned with GIS hardware, software, and geospatial data. GIS, on the other hand, addresses problems and issues primarily through technological methodology (e.g. digital mapping), "GISc" addresses fundamental issues raised by the use of GIS and related technologies (Goodchild 1990, 1992; Wilson and Fotheringham 2007).

Geographic Data versus Geographic Information

Geographic data refers to the data in its raw form. Geographic information is the result of an interpretation of data. As the real world is complex, choices over how the features of interest are described in the database, such as the percentage canopy closure for a given forest, results in alternative but equally valid interpretations of the same raw data. Thus, in the creation of information from data, choices about "how" and "what" to map are made. It is important to recognize, that information is socially constructed, as it depends on decisions and choices, themselves influenced by institutional and political contexts.

Because of these issues and many others, it is therefore useful to reflect on "what it is we do" with a GIS. Thus GISc is concerned with issues relating to representation, ontologies, error, and inconsistency. Uncertainty is introduced in almost every stage of the operation of a GIS, as there are subjective choices to be made. Thus, GISc must also explore the ethical implications of using GIS to represent "the truth" to whoever the audience is.

See also

* Geographic information system
* Spatial Decision Support Systems


last1 = Comber | first1 = Alexis J.
author1-link = Alexis Comber
last2 = Fisher | first2 = Peter F.
author2-link = Peter Fisher
last3 = Wadsworth | first3 = Richard A.
author3-link = Richard Wadsworth
contribution = What is land cover?
contribution-url =
title = [ Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design]
year = 2005
volume = [ 32]
issue = [ 2]
pages = 199-209

last1 = Goodchild | first1 = Michael F.
author1-link = Michael Goodchild
title = PDFlink| [ Spatial information science]
journal = Proceedings, Fourth International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling
year = 1990
location = Zurich, Switzerland
pages = 3–12

last1 = Goodchild | first1 = Michael F.
author1-link = Michael Goodchild
title = [ Geographical information science]
journal = [ International Journal of Geographical Information Systems]
volume = 6
issue = 1
year = 1992
pages = 31–45

last1 = Longley | first1 = Paul A.
author1-link = Paul Longley
last2 = Goodchild | first2 = Michael F.
author2-link = Michael Goodchild
last3 = Maguire | first3 = David J.
author3-link = David Maguire
last4 = Rhind | first3 = David W.
author4-link = David Rhind
title = Geographic Information Systems and Science
edition = 2nd
year = 2005
isbn = 047087001X

last1 = Wilson | first1 = J.P.
author1-link = J.P. Wilson
last2 = Fotheringham | first2 = A.S.
author2-link = A.S. Fotheringham
title = The Handbook of Geographic Information Science
year = 2007
publisher = Blackwell Publishing
location = Malden, MA
pages = 3–12
Elangovan,K (2006)"GIS: Fundamentals, Applications and Implementations", New India Publishing Agency, New Delhi"208 pp.

External links

* [ The ERSI Guide to GIS Analysis]
* [ The GIS&T Body of Knowledge

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