Posts Tagged ‘geographic information systems’

Reading List for Geographic Information Course

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

The fall semester is here, and I’m about to start teaching the class I mentioned in my last post (an information studies course on geographic information). I thought I’d share my reading list and try out the Open Book plugin. I chose my readings based on: my particular audience (undergraduate students from many disciplines with little or no background in geography), relevance (materials appropriate in a hybrid information studies / geography course), cost (wanting to assign the students a single textbook that’s reasonably priced and covers all the bases, and will supplement with other readings), and copyright (staying within the bounds of fair use by not assigning too much from a single work). Here goes:

[openbook]1593852002[/openbook] I decided to go with Krygier and Woods Making Maps as my assigned text book. Since cartography is a visual and technical art, I thought it made sense to use a book that relies on visuals for explanations rather than text. It’s approachable, particularly for my students who won’t be coming from a geography background, affordable, wonderfully quirky, and covers all of the essentials of the geographic framework and map interpretation and design independent of specific GIS software.

[openbook]1405106727[/openbook] I’m using the first chapter of Cresswell’s book as a succinct introduction to how individuals define places, but would recommend the rest of the text for classes that cover geographic concepts and methods.

[openbook]026208354X[/openbook] I’m assigning the second and third chapters of Hill’s book. The second chapter, which discusses how people process, store, and use geographic information is the best summary of this topic that I’ve ever seen, and the third chapter is a good overview of the different types of geographic objects. As a librarian-geo nerd, I love the chapters that deal with coordinate metadata and gazetteers, but won’t be using them in this class.

[openbook]0262620014[/openbook]This is an urban planning / design classic, and I’ll have my students read the summary of Lynch’s city elements (based on his research, Lynch proposed that people mentally break the urban environment down into five types of elements in order to organize and navigate the city: paths, barriers, districts, nodes, and landmarks).

[openbook]0470129050[/openbook]This is the only traditional textbook that I’ll be borrowing from (I actually used it when I was a Freshmen, way back when). While I’m using the previous three books to discuss egocentric places, or how we as individuals conceive of place, I’m using the first chapter of this book to give the students an overview of geocentric places – the formal, defined hierarchy of places that exist in the world – and to introduce them to the concept of regions.

[openbook]0226534146[/openbook]This has become a modern classic and I almost assigned it as a second textbook. I am assigning the chapter on maps for propaganda as a background to our discussion on map interpretation and communication, and will later use the chapter on census maps to talk about the effects of data classification and choice of enumeration units.

[openbook]1934356069[/openbook]This is the only software book that I’ll be using chapters from, so the students have some formal guide for using QGIS (in addition to the QGIS documentation). I’m using the chapters on vector and raster data.

[openbook]1412910161[/openbook]This concise, excellent book deals strictly with the concepts and principles behind GIS. I’m using the chapters on spatial search and geoprocessing, but would recommend the entire book for any GIS course, novice to advanced.

In addition to chapters from these books, I’ll also be using:

  • “Revolutions in Mapping” by John Noble Wilford, National Geographic Feb 1998 – a great overview of the history of cartography
  • USGS GIS poster – if there is such a thing, this is a “web classic” and an accessible intro to GIS
  • One article from a scholarly journal and one article from a mass market magazine to illustrate how geographic research is covered and used
  • And for shameless self-promotion, I summary I wrote about US Census data – In Three Parts

Finally, an honorable mention:

[openbook] 1593855664[/openbook] If I was teaching an introductory GIS course in a geography or earth sciences department, this is certainly the book I would use, and for those of you in that boat I’d recommend checking it out. It does an excellent job of covering GIS principles without being software specific, contains exercises at the end of each chapter, and is well written and affordable. Since the scope of my course is broader than GIS and my audience more general and diverse, I opted to leave it out (but may still assign a chapter).

GIS and Mapping Titles

Friday, April 25th, 2008

I’ve been building the library’s collection of geography, GIS, and demography books, and many of them have started arriving. I thought I’d share some of best picks with everyone. Here’s a subset of some of the GIS titles (and more are on the way!)

A to Z GIS : an illustrated dictionary of geographic information systems 2nd ed
Wade, Tasha and Sommer, Shelly
ESRI Press, 2006
Convenient print copy of ESRI’s online glossary, with nice illustrations.

Beyond mapping : meeting national needs through enhanced geographic information science
National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Beyond Mapping
National Academies Press, 2006
A concise overview of GIS: where it’s been, where it is, where it needs to go, and why.

Elevation data for floodplain mapping
National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Floodplain Mapping Technologies
National Academies Press, 2007.
The specific topic is quite salient, but this book also serves as great intro to rasters and remote sensing in general.

Geographic information systems demystified
Galati, Stephen R
Artech House, 2006.
A non-ESRI overview of GIS. It’s been checked out since it arrived, so it must be good!

Georeferencing : the geographic associations of information
Hill, Linda L.
MIT Press, 2006.
This is what I’m reading now. It covers spatial cognition, digitization, coordinates, ontologies, gazetteers, metadata, info retrieval, and more.

Getting to know ArcGIS desktop : basics of ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo 2nd ed., updated for ArcGIS 9.
Ormsby, Tim, et. al.
ESRI Press, 2004
At this point, the old stand-by introduction to ArcGIS

Making maps : a visual guide to map design for GIS
Krygier, John and Wood, Denis
Guilford Press, 2005
Easy to read and cleverly organized overview of cartographic conventions and design for GIS

Statistical methods for geography : a student guide 2nd ed.
Rogerson, Peter A.
Sage Publications, 2006.
Nice overview of this topic with many examples.

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