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Michael F. Goodchild

In: Approaches to Human Geography

Chapter 23: Geographic Information Systems

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Geographic Information Systems
Geographic information systems
Michael F.Goodchild

Geographic information systems (GIS) are massive software packages providing a range of functions for creating, acquiring, integrating, transforming, visualizing, analyzing, modeling, and archiving information about the surface and near-surface of the earth. They associate locations in space, and often in space–time, with properties such as temperature, population density, land use, or elevation, and are widely used today in support of research in geography, and in any other disciplines concerned with phenomena on or near the earth's surface (for an introduction to GIS see Longley et al., 2001).

The notion that GIS could raise questions of an ethical or a philosophical nature would not have occurred to early developers and users, who tended to see these tools as value-neutral, much as ...

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