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Scale in GIS

  • By: Mark W. Horner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Scale has many connotations in geographic information systems (GIS) research and education. Among its most frequent uses, scale captures the relationship between distances in the real world and the distances among objects on GIS maps and in spatial databases. In this sense, scale is the level of reduction associated with representing Earth's features in GIS and cartographic databases. There is also the related concept of spatial scale, which deals with the level of resolution or granularity of spatial objects in terms of what are the finest discernable details. Along similar lines, the temporal scale associated with spatial data indicates how frequently data are collected for the same area. Last, the notion of a scale is often used in GIS project management and modeling to gauge ...

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