The Design and Implementation of Geographic Information Systems
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More About This Title The Design and Implementation of Geographic Information Systems


Presents strategies for application development, interface design, and enabling Web-based access.
  • Includes numerous case studies and examples from the private and public sectors.
  • Provides information on integrating legacy MIS systems and planning for future developments in database design.


JOHN E. HARMON, PhD, is Professor of Geography at Central Connecticut State University. He has been teaching GIS design for more than ten years.

STEVEN J. ANDERSON is Director of Business Development and Senior Project Manager at Applied Geographics, Inc., a leading GIS consultancy based in Boston, Massachusetts.



Chapter 1: Introduction.

Who Should Read This Book.

What Is a Geographic Information System?

Corporate or Enterprise Geographic Information Systems.

The GIS Strategic Plan.

Chapter 2: Before Design: Needs Assessment and Requirements Analysis.

Organizational Involvement.

Need for Education, Support, and Commitment of Management ? Corporate Implementation Takes Time.

Manage Users? Expectations ? No Unrealistic Promises.

Needs Assessment/Requirements Analysis.

Assessing the Current Users.

Categorizing Users.

Other Factors with Users.


Evaluating Existing Data.




Software Selection.

Technical Environment.

Assessing Costs and Benefits.

Pulling the Needs Together.

Chapter 3: Designing the GIS Database Schema.

Elements of a Schema.

Data Dictionary.

Tables and Relationships.


Chapter 4: Designing Spatial Data.

C hoosing the Appropriate M ix of Data Models.

Choosing a Subset of Reality.

The Two Principal Data Models.

Layers and Objects.

Representing Geographic Features.

Topologic Relationships.

Types of Spatial Objects.

Issues around the Third Dimension.

Accuracy, Precision, and Completeness.

Accuracy Concerns ? Global Positioning Systems.

Differential Processing.

Accuracy across Layers.

Choosing a Coordinate System and Map Projection.

Decimal Longitude and Latitude or Projected Data.

Characteristics of Map Projections.

Spanning Existing Map Projection Zones.

Selection of Projection for Large Areas.

Spatial Indexing.


Chapter 5: Design Issues for Attribute Data.

General Principles: Fields in Both D and G Tables.

Specific Principles for G Tables.

Principles for Fields in D Tables.

Designing Input Elements.

Design of Output Elements.

Application Design.

Chapter 6: Remotely Sensed Data as Background Layers and Data Sources.

Aerial Photography as Backdrop Information.

Capture Data as Well?

Dealing with the Images.

Integrating Remotely Sensed Information with GIS.

Questions to Ask.

Chapter 7: Implementation: Data Development and Conversion.

System Configuration and Product Architecture Plan.

Data Development and Conversion Plan.

Capturing Digital Data.

Optical Character Recognition.

In-House or Out-Source Data Development of Conversion.

Selecting a Vendor.

Perform a Pilot Project.

Chapter 8: Implementation: Selecting Hardware and Software.

Software Considerations.

Evaluating Software.

How to Select Your Software.

Hardware Concerns.

Networking Issues.

Types of Networks.

The Capacity of the Network.

Chapter 9: Designing the Organization for GIS.

Ownership of Geographic Information.

User Roles.

Staffing the Design and Implementation Process.

Where to Put the GIS.

Designing the Data Flow.

Chapter 10: Early Management Concerns: Interacting with the System.

User Roles.

Managing User Roles.

Managing Desktop Interfaces.

Managing World Wide Web-Based Interfaces.

GIS Interaction and the Organization.

A New Committee.


Access Controls.

Controlling Public Access.

Managing the System ? The Maintenance Plan.

Data Dissemination.

GIS Data Distribution through the World Wide Web.




"The Design & Implementation of Geographic Information Systems is an effective reality check for those looking to implement a GIS." (GIS Monitor, June 2003)