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Winter 2005/2006

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Think Globally, Act Regionally

Applying GIS in Higher Education Social Science and Public Policy Research Methods Courses

book coverThink Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research is an important new book now available from Esri Press that shows how GIS can be applied in beginning social science and public policy research methods courses at universities and colleges.

Written by Richard LeGates, professor of urban studies at San Francisco State University, California, the book's heavily illustrated 12 chapters help students see how geospatial thinking can make a difference in a broad range of social science and public policy disciplines. The book works well as a monthlong module, and the structured exercises using data on an accompanying CD-ROM can be completed in approximately six hours of computer lab time.

"The premise of this book is that space is an important dimension in most real-world issues that concern social scientists and students of public policy," LeGates states."However, except for geographers, these scientists and students often neglect the spatial aspect of issues."

Part 1 of the book deals with broad themes of urbanization, GIS, and data visualization, with an introduction to vector GIS. Part 2 surveys raster GIS, looks at multivariate data graphics, and explores themes relating to the balance between built and natural environments. Part 3 discusses issues of spatial equity and regional integration using GIS and data visualization and includes an overview of symbolizing map features, creating map layouts, and using effective graphic communication. Part 4 is a look at regional planning in metropolitan Portland, Oregon. LeGates explores how Metro—Portland's regional planning organization—used GIS to develop its important 2040 Growth Concept plan.

Think Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research (ISBN 1-58948-124-0, 538 pages) has a list price of $64.95 and is available at better bookstores, online from Esri Press (, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, please contact your local Esri distributor.

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