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Understanding GIS: An ArcGIS Project Workbook Paperback – 30 Aug 2013

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About the Author

<strong>Christian Harder</strong> is a writer at Esri and author of a number of case study books on GIS. <br><br><strong>Tim Ormsby</strong> is a technical writer at Esri and has created and contributed to ArcGIS training courses for both the classroom and online learning. Ormsby coauthored Esri Press's best-selling workbook <em>Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop</em> (Esri Press 2010). Thomas Balstrøm is the coauthor of the Danish-language Book of GIS and Geodata. He worked for two decades as an associate professor in GIS and physical geography at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and currently is an associate professor in geoinformatics at University of Aalborg, Copenhagen.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A big attention to the end-user experience 22 Aug. 2012
By Alessandro Brunelli - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This workbook is a very user-friendly written book for those interested to begin using ArcGIS Desktop. I am 3/4 of the book through and I am impressed for the care and will to have readers learn ArcGIS and GIS for true. This said, don't expect to become an expert at the end because this is simply a good introduction to ArcGIS. And more precisely, the book is written from the point of view of a GIS analyst (you learn in the beginning of the book that there are 5 categories of ArcGIS users: editors, cartographers, analysts, programmers, managers). The book guides the reader step by step through a project which aims at finding a suitable land parcel(s)for a new park area in Los Angeles.You use real data which comes in the companion DVD. When you reach the final stage in chapter 6 and follow all the careful steps to manually select the best areas and you learned why you do so, you discover in the following chapter (chapter 7) that you can do the same in a much quicker way by using a visual graphing tool, a marvel in my opinion of ArcGIS Desktop.
The reader doesn't need to buy ArcGIS desktop since a two months demo can be used as well. Alternatively, a user can apply for a "home user" account and pay just a fraction of the full price (conditions apply)
All in all, the workbook is excellent. The general impression is to seat in a jumbo-jet cockpit and start understanding the instructions...only to forget them and be remembered again and again through the superb user-friendlines of the text and the many graphicallly clear and precise pictures (plus you see often a line saying "don't remember how to?...then read here or skip it if you know" ). The book comes also with videos hosted in the esri website but I must say I'd rather prefer the text that I can read and skim through away from a computer for further "digestion". The whole project can be done in a week but most probably it is better in my opinion to allow yourself 2-3 weeks or so and go back and forth the many different crucial point again and again (e.g. changing and selecting coordinates, geo referencing, editing, etc...). I found that the present version, 10.1, of AcGIS does not change significantly from the earlier version used for the book. Only in one or two examples I found the pictures slightly different from version 10.1 and only in one case I found myself stuck with instructions (in chapter 6) whereby I don't know if this is beacause I did something wrong (most probably) or if the text of the book was wrong/outdated.
I recommed this book, in the end it's much cheaper than paying for an instructor-led seminar.
It will be a good reference book, too.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Easy to follow, and thorough! 15 July 2011
By Mythic Highland - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a novice GIS user, I'm finding the tutorial in this new title easy to follow and packed with practical and useful information about ArcGIS 10 software. Instead of asking the reader to tackle an array of mind-numbing problems, Understanding GIS guides the reader through one practical challenge: to find a good location for a park near the Los Angeles River. The book includes clear step-by-step instructions in completing a GIS analysis with visual aids in the form of screen captures. While I prefer fiction and memoir, Understanding GIS is written clearly enough (so far) to hold my attention through its many exercises.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Lot of Bang for Your Buck 30 Aug. 2013
By pink_salt - Published on
Format: Paperback
Understanding GIS is a breath of fresh air! It is an ArcGIS workbook that'll PAINLESSLY show you the basics. It's conceit is that it asks the user (or reader) to seriously locate the best spots along the famous LA River to create public parks. You remember, the LA River! It's not so much a river as it is an enormous unsightly concrete trough that runs through the city for the purpose of flood control. You've seen it in the movies. The climax of the 1950s giant-ant hit THEM! was shot at one of its junctures and Terminator 2: Judgment Day used some of its narrower corridors for that astonishing truck chasing the motorbike scene. You get my point, the LA River is depressed and graffiti-ridden . . . but city officials have come to understand that the many patches of open space and green that still exist near and at the edge of the river can be revived and used as focal points of community gathering. In fact these glens of tranquility have been sprouting like mushrooms along the river, and the city is helping along the process by making available the insightful website LAriver dot org.

Thus this book contrives to pitch in for the public good by asking the user to take REAL DATA from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering's Mapping Division, and Department of Recreation and Parks and to manipulate it using the awesome power of GIS [and we're NOT talking about Google Earth people!]. Users are provided a colossal amount of data with the book's project DVD, and the book explains that in an actual GIS project you would find excellent data amassed at countless agencies, vendors, and institutions.

Sorry for the long aside: The point of this book is to walk you step-by-step, mouse-click-by mouse-click, decision-by-decision through a GIS project to determine for yourself which locations along the river are best suited for public recreational use. At the end, you will have learned many of the fundamentals of GIS generally and ArcGIS specifically.

Plus it is just plain fun. But I'm partial to old science fiction movies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A realistic project illustrating the best of what GIS does 22 July 2013
By Ben Logan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was once in a Master's program in landscape architecture at a very good university. I was unhappy--well, partly because I just could not draw! But, I also felt the program was ignoring computers and all the many factors that go into making something important for the social fabric--such as making public parks. I dropped out, got into CAD, ended up teaching that, later found GIS and got my Master's in GIS/Geography at another fine university. A long trip, but definitely worth it.

I mention all this because this book represents exactly what I was looking for! I have now been in GIS for several years in various research positions. Still, this book does a great job of providing the foundation for well-intentioned enterprises. My inner landscape designer wants a defensible foundation for any good municipal design.

I give the book four stars instead of five only because it does not show how to transform that ModelBuilder model into some working Python code. Yeah, I know that's a lot to ask for. But, in a realistic project, the model would probably be turned into Python and refined at the script level.

My Intro to GIS professor was one of the finest in the USA. For the lab portion of his course, he led us through a semester long project very similar in its flowchart to the one in this book. Nothing can take the place of a fine series of lectures on the concepts and evolving science of GIS. But this book will give you real hands-on experience.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great GIS book 24 Feb. 2012
By Kris - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to use very informative book. Great for the person just starting out learning about GIS. Book walks you through lessons on ArcMap applications and vital information. Would recommend to anyone who wants to learn about ArcMap
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