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Earth Science


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Geographic Information Systems

Maximizing the Power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Applied Land Informatics by Toru Otawa (Mellen Studies in Geography, Vol. 8: Edwin Mellen Press) Geographic information systems (GIS) have been implemented in a variety of organizations around the world and are increasingly used as a spatial decision-making tool by a wide range of disciplines. This diffusion of GIS has been driven primarily by advancements in GIS-related technologies such as hardware and software. While introducing GIS, very few organizations have scrutinized the socio-cultural infrastructure of an organization such as data and user needs. This "black-box" approach to GIS implementation has often led to disappointing outcomes, contrary to organization's initial expectations. This book is based on the author's inexhaustible motive to help maximize the benefits from GIS in corporate settings by understanding better and sound GIS design that meets organizational missions, goals and needs. This study is a compilation of the land information research undertaken during the 1990s. A model was conceptualized and applied to local organizations to help evaluate the implementation of organization-wide or corporate geospatial information systems (GIS) over time. A questionnaire was developed to assess values and perceptions associated with the model components. The evaluation model has proven its value in assessing the efficacy of GIS in local and regional organizations. It was also effective as a diagnostic tool to make an existing GIS work and advance to the next level of implementation. This book describes the results of analyses and suggests various ways in which an organization, whether public, private, or quasi-public, can help maximize the potential of and benefits from a corporate GIS 

GIS for Coastal Zone Management by Darius Bartlett, Jennifer Smith (CRC Press) Geographical Information Systems are increasingly being used to analyze and manage marine and coastal zones. They provide a powerful set of tools for use in coastal zone supervision. This book discusses recent developments and specific applications that can be used to help marine scientists and conservationists enhance their skills. The techniques presented in this book teach GIS applications in a coastal setting, including shoreline mapping, ship borne data collection techniques, coastal decision making with GIS and more. Including new information presented at the CoastGIS 2001 Symposium, this book will inspire and stimulate continued research in this important new application domain of GIS.

This book has arisen out of a decade-long collaborative initiative between the Commission on Marine Cartography of the International Cartographic Association and the Commission on Coastal Systems of the International Geographical Union, and manifested in the series of conferences known as the CoastGIS Symposia. The first CoastGIS meeting was held in Cork, Ireland, in February 1995. Since then, successive events have taken place in Aberdeen, Scotland (1997), Brest, France (1999) and Halifax, Nova Scotia (2001). The majority of chapters presented in the pages that follow had their origins in papers presented at the Halifax meeting, supplemented by a selection of additional contributions commissioned by the editors specifically for this volume.

Previous volumes have focused on GIS research in the marine and coastal realms (Wright and Bartlett, 2000) and on the application of GIS to oceanography and fisheries. The current volume is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to focus specifically on the role of GIS in integrated coastal zone management. We hope it will provide guidance, inspiration, encouragement and, where merited, a degree of caution, for all those tasked with the stewardship of the world's coasts, as well as for those whose interests are more academic and research-oriented.

The wide diversity of perspectives that can and must be brought to bear on the challenge of coastal zone management is reflected in the range and organization of chapters in this book. Thus the opening chapters focus on technical issues, ranging from the incorporation of GIS within wider information infrastructures to techniques of visualisation, the importance of error and uncertainty in coastal databases, and the interfacing of GIS with simulation and process models. This is followed by a number of chapters that step back from technology, and which seek to put coastal zone GIS into a more human context, particularly through examination of cultural issues and exploration of techniques for incorporating traditional ecological knowledge within GIS-enabled coastal management regimes; and, finally, attention focuses on the use of GIS to historic shoreline change analysis, the application of geomatics to estuary management,

and to better understanding and management of environmentally sensitive shorelines.

We are particularly delighted that contributions to this volume have come from each of the inhabited continents of the world, namely from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America. The diversity of perspectives on coastal management arising from the cultural and professional backgrounds of the authors, and also from the range of geographic locations used in the case studies and applications reported on, underscores the truly international dimension of coastal management today.

As always, compilation of an edited collection of papers depends on the support, encouragement and assistance of a vast number of people who have worked "behind the scenes." It is, of course, a pleasure to thank the authors who have contributed chapters to the book, and who have borne with cheerful patience the many demands – some reasonable, some perhaps less so – of the editors. We also acknowledge with gratitude the support of the International Geographical Union and the International Cartographic Association.

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