GIS Fundamentals, Second Edition
When I set out to design a GIS course for third-year undergraduates in the Department of Geography at Sheffield University, I decided to include some material on how GIS worked at a fundamental level. The students were already familiar with how to use GIS from earlier courses, and so the next obvious step was to understand how they worked. An analogy which I often use is that they knew how to drive the car – now it was time to learn how the internal combustion engine works. The problem I faced was that there was very little reading that I could provide for them which was at a level that they could understand. Some of the early work in GIS was undertaken by geographers, but modern GIS systems draw on ideas developed in mainstream computer science. This makes the literature difficult to follow for anyone without a background in this discipline, although the techniques used to store and process spatial data are not fundamentally difficult to understand. I decided to solve my problem by writing my own book, and this is how the first edition of GIS Basics came to be produced. In the years since it was published, there has been an explosion in the use of spatial data so that, from being a specialist area, GIS technology is now something which is used via technologies such as the Internet, GPS and mobile phones by huge numbers of people on a daily basis. It therefore seemed timely to update the book to reflect some of these changes. The name has been changed to GIS Fundamentals to better reflect the fact that this is not an introductory text. However, the aim remains the same, which is to provide an introduction to some of the main ideas and methods that underpin GIS in simple, everyday language.
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