Nearly 80% of the informational needs of local government policymakers are related to geographic location. As a result, the techniques of analytic mapping (the study of the dynamic diffusion and distribution of any variable across area and over time) and of geographic information systems (GIS) have become increasingly important tools for analyzing census, crime, environmental and consumer data. The authors of this significant little volume discuss data access, transformation and preparation issues, and how to select the appropriate analytic graphics techniques through a review of various GIS and common data sources: census products, TIGER files, and CD-ROM access. Garson and Biggs describe each procedure, review its assumptions and requirements, and provide illustrative output for sample data using selected software. Researchers and administrators who need to manage data of geographic locations will find Analytic Mapping and Geographic Databases a useful guide for systems storing, retrieving, analyzing, and displaying this information.

Map Graphics

While manual mapping methods are still used and can prove quite satisfactory for certain social science purposes (see Southall & Oliver, 1990), computerized mapping is now the norm. For many social scientists, computer mapping is a matter of selecting a software package that contains built–in boundary files related to one's course or research, has relevant bui–in databases, and can display or print basic choropleth maps, perhaps with custom labeling and symbols (e.g., arrows) added ...

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