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Qualitative Analysis

There are two definitions of qualitative analysis associated with GIS. One is the more scientific, meaning the use of noncontinuous data to categorize, explain, or predict geographical features. The other relates to a set of nonnumerical methods used to understand and to question how such features are conceived and represented in GIS. The first defines a way that GIS is practiced. The other is more concerned with specific GIS methods. This entry focuses on the latter of these two definitions but begins with a brief consideration of the former.

The more scientific meaning refers to categorical data analysis, where the inputs to or the results of analysis are either nominal (e.g., risk of noise pollution versus risk of light pollution, but neither obviously worse than the ...

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