Winter 2012 Edition
This article as a PDF.
Understanding GIS: An ArcGIS Project Workbook, a new GIS tutorial book from Esri Press, not only teaches how to become proficient with ArcGIS 10 software but also how to use ArcGIS and a geographically based methodology to solve real-world problems.
In this book, the reader assumes the role of a GIS analyst who must find the best location for a new park along the Los Angeles River in Southern California. The book's nine self-paced lessons deal with the steps involved in solving this problem: framing the problem, exploring the study area, preparing data, carrying out analysis, interpreting the results of analysis, and presenting those results. Each lesson explains key concepts and provides step-by-step instructions and graphics that are used to validate results.
The process mapped out in the book teaches best practices in evaluating, organizing, and managing data. It emphasizes working more intelligently—planning rather than just diving into tasks such as model building. Along the way, readers learn how to efficiently use the software, take advantage of shortcuts, and understand how geoprocessing tools are used, not just how to run them.
The book comes with access to a 90-day trial version of ArcGIS 10 and a DVD containing the data needed to start the book's project. The Understanding GIS Resource Center supplies the book's final lesson in PDF format, GIS TV videos to walk the reader through the exercises in real time, exercise results for each lesson, and other resources.
Understanding GIS can be used by a broad audience: college or graduate students, college-level teachers, GIS professionals who need to know more about ArcGIS 10 for Desktop, professionals in other fields who use GIS, and current users of earlier versions of ArcGIS for Desktop who need to transition to version 10.
The authors, Christian Harder, Tim Ormsby, and Thomas Balstrøm, bring years of experience writing about and teaching GIS. Harder, a writer at Esri, is the author of case study books on GIS. Ormsby, a technical writer at Esri, has created and contributed to ArcGIS training courses for both the classroom and online learning and coauthored the best-selling workbook Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop (Esri Press 2010). Balstrøm is the coauthor of the Danish-language Book of GIS and Geodata. After two decades as an associate professor in GIS and physical geography at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, he is now a freelance GIS consultant.