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Geospatial Technologies

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As applications of geospatial technologies continuously break the disciplinary barrier, the need for books on these technologies to reach diverse audiences is greater than ever. The challenge, however, is to write a book on this complicated subject that incorporates the knowledge of multiple disciplines and makes it valuable for those who may or may not have diverse educational backgrounds, but require using these technologies. Most books on geospatial technologies target a specific audience. Contrary to this, Geographical Information Science tries to target three different audiences (users, students, and engineers) by using formats and languages comfortable to them. While this effort is laudable, maintaining the balance and attractiveness to all the three audiences is challenging. The author, Narayan Panigrahi, has accomplished this balancing act but with mixed outcomes. His computer science background is clearly seen in the structure and contents of the chapters. This book is another addition to the list of introductory GIS textbooks. The book focuses on topics that are generally required to be learned in an introductory GIS class. The author infuses mathematical equations and formulas throughout the book to explain GIS tasks. This is helpful for the student to learn the fundamentals of GIS rather than simply learning GIS software. Apart from the occasional typographical errors and incomplete sentences, the chapters are generally readable and contain several flowcharts, pictures and the book is moderately priced. Each chapter ends with study questions and references. The author has tried to organize the chapters in ‘input-processing-output model’ or ‘model-view-control process’ or ‘use case of information function’ formats. In... ... middle of paper ... ...regarded GPS – an indispensable part of GIS. Discussions on cartographic principles, commercial GIS software programs, satellite images, aerial photos, and geodatabases are some of the other conspicuous omissions in this book. There is an inconsistency in the depth of topics explored; for example map projections are explored in great depth, while vector topology is merely glossed over. These omissions and inconsistencies would in my opinion make this book marginally less beneficial to all the three audiences together. However, there is something for all them; structure for engineers, equations for engineers and students, and GIS concepts for students, engineers and users. This book will therefore be undeniably valuable if used to complement the material in some of the other fundamental GIS books in the discipline. It has merits, but there is room for improvement.
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