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Gis Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems Paperback – Jun 30 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Ingram; 3rd edition (June 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971764727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971764729
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 17.3 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #688,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great basic resource April 8 2011
By Mwilliams - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've been a GIS professional for > 12 years, and I don't think there is a better book if you want to know what you are actually doing in GIS operations, particularly at a cost that appears to approximately half or less than alternative basic books. I use ArcGIS every day, and ArcGIS/ESRI books are fine for learning the software. I've found these kind of books useful, but only for telling me how to do things, rather than what I should do, or to troubleshoot problems or understand data I get from various sources. The Arc books have a short shelf life, because the buttons to push and menus to access change with each version of the software (anyone living through the 3.3 to 8.x to 9.x to 10.x knows what I'm talking about), and ArcGIS focused books aren't too useful for the half the market that uses different softwares (QGIS, MapWindow, Manifold, IDRISI, etc. users out there). More importantly, most of those books don't tell you why you're doing something, or how to choose among the various method you might apply.

Bolstad's GIS Fundamentals book is a pretty complete summary of all the important background material you need to use GIS intelligently, e.g., to figure out why your state plane data don't line up, or the difference between an international foot and a survey foot, or when you should use a convex hull vs. a kernel-based influence area. Sure it is a basic book, and you'll have to follow the references to really understand some of the more arcane nuances of GIS, but this book provides a solid foundation. There are chapters on basic data structures, map projections, GPS, images, and digital data which are quite helpful, and a good description of tables and tabular data queries, with great chapters on the basics of vector operations, raster, and terrain analysis. I find myself using this as a reference at least each week. Beware of differences in editions, there are at least three out there, and the latest is always the best.

There are other books I own that are about as good, but I don't find myself using for various reasons. Heywood, Cornelius, and Carver is pretty clear and complete, but with a British focus, and a bit more expensive. Lo and Yeung's is good and clearly written, although a bit out of date. Andy Mitchell's books on spatial analysis are pretty good, but there are holes in both combined (nothing on data entry, little on DBMS), and they are somewhat ESRI-centric. Clarke's book is a bit too introductory, with incomplete coverage for a reference book, and the various offerings by Chang, Kennedy, and the ESRI Press focus more on the software, and less on the ideas behind it.

Every GIS professional that wants to understand what they are doing should own a few basic books, and I find GIS Fundamentals to be complete, clear, and inexpensive to boot, great for helping a beginner understand the basics, and as a reference on any professional's bookshelf. You will probably still need to buy a training manual for the specific software you use, but given the generally low price of this 640 page book, GIS Fundamentals is well worth it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Too Much Detail June 6 2011
By S.Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was required to read this text for a class to gain a certificate. As someone who is new to GIS, I found this book very helpful in explaining in detail the various concepts. Unfortunately, the level of detail was often the problem with this text. Often there was so much detail, that I found myself scanning through the pages of detail for the major concepts or I else I would lose focus. It is great to understand the foundation of a subject thoroughly before jumping in to the GIS computer programs that have simplified the operations for the user. However, it would be just as beneficial to the reader if the text were more concise, so as to get the point across more deliberately. In my opinion, this text would be much better used as a reference for professionals than as a class text.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
OK, dense theoretical reading March 13 2012
By Pushpin - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a required text for my graduate GIS course. Being new to the world of GIS, I haven't really used any other texts but I'm pretty sure there are better ones out there and I'm bit baffled at why my program would chose this particular book.

The writing is very dense. And it isn't dense in a good way. The author will go over simple concepts in excruciating detail meanwhile glossing over more complicated material. I suppose it was written in this way to build a good foundation with the basics while touching upon more advanced concepts. In regards, to completing assignments though, I find myself going on the internet to clarify confusing concepts rather than using the book and often times I find contradictory information.

The figures in the book would be helpful if they had a bit more explanation in the narrative.

This book also suffers from poor editing. Charts and graphs use Comic San font (which isn't the most professional font out there and it has gained some chuckles from our classmates). There are many typos and the index might as well not exist. Instead of drudging through the dense material looking for a particular concept, I usually just turn onto the internet because the index is not helpful at all.

If you're new to GIS, this book might not be helpful. However, if you already have some background in programming this book may serve as a good reference. Otherwise, I would pass this text up.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great material for first timers. Sept. 28 2012
By Chuks Okereke - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Takes you through the jargons of GIS. A must have for first timer. On the other hand, too theoretical for conversant users.
GIS Fundamentals ~ full of typos May 6 2011
By M Lum - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a required book for one of my classes. I found it extremely irritating to read, as I've never had a textbook in college with so many typos in it. The information was decent, but I tended to have a hang-up where I would read a chapter and instead of absorbing the information, I would begin to count how many grammatical errors I could find.....and there are a lot.