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Geographic Information Systems

This guide will help you get started with understanding what GIS is, the nature of geospatial data used in GIS, and how to get started using GIS for your research.

Spatial Analysis

Definition from the ESRI Dictionary:

"The process of examining the locations, attributes, and relationships of features in spatial data through overlay and other analytical techniques in order to address a question or gain useful knowledge. Spatial analysis extracts or creates new information from spatial data".

Spatial Analysis skills have many uses ranging from emergency management and other city services, business location and retail analysis, transportation modeling, crime and disease mapping, and natural resource management.

Spatial analysis answers where questions. Where is the location(s) with the highest crime rate? Where has geological change occured? Where is the best location for a new restaurant?

Below is an example of a research project completed using GIS to analyze crime trends. The video walks you through the entire process. From locating and downloading your data to uploading, manipulating, analyzing and interpreting results. 

Geoprocessing

Definition from the ESRI Dictionary:

"Geoprocessing is a GIS operation used to manipulate GIS data. A typical geoprocessing operation takes an input dataset, performs an operation on that dataset, and returns the result of the operation as an output dataset. Common geoprocessing operations include geographic feature overlay, feature selection and analysis, topology processing, raster processing, and data conversion. Geoprocessing allows for definition, management, and analysis of information used to form decisions".

Simply, geoprocessing involves employing an appropriate tool(s) to conduct a spatial analysis to create new information/data.

Below is a video that demonstrates how to use several geoprocessing tools to conduct a spatial analyisis.

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