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Principles of Geographical Information Systems

Third Edition

Peter A. Burrough, Rachael A. McDonnell, and Christopher D. Lloyd

Publication Date - 23 June 2015

ISBN: 9780198742845

432 pages
10.4 x 7.7 inches

In Stock


Geographical data are used in so many aspects of our lives today, ranging from disaster relief operations through to finding directions on our mobile phones. We can all be data collectors, adding locational information as we capture digitally our day-to-day experiences. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are the software tools that facilitate this, turning the raw data into useful information that can help us understand our worlds better.

Principles of Geographical Information Systems presents a thorough overview of the subject, exploring both the theoretical basis of GIS, and their use in practice. It explains how data on the world are converted into digital form and the analytical capabilities used to bring understanding to a range of areas of interest and issues.

Spatial data are usually based on two, dichotomous paradigms: exactly defined entities in space, such as land parcels and urban structures, or the continuous variation of single attributes, such as temperature or rainfall. The adoption of one or the other influences how the geographical data are structured in the GIS and the types of analysis possible. A further area of focus in the book concerns the problems of data quality and how statistical errors in spatial data can affect the results of spatial modelling based on the two paradigms of space. Fuzzy logic and continuous classification methods are presented as methods for linking the two spatial paradigms. The book concludes with an overview of current developments and trends in providing spatial data to an ever-expanding global community of users.

Online Resource Centre
The Online Resource Centre to accompany Principles of Geographical Information Systems features:

For students:
DT Links to useful software and software providers for GIS
DT Datasets with instructions of how to repeat analyses presented in the book using widely-used software

For registered adopters of the book:
DT Figures from the book, available for download


  • Provides a thorough, broad-ranging account of the theory and practice of GIS, which is suitable for students who are serious about mastering the subject.
  • Numerous and diverse real-world examples, with clear explanations of methodology, demonstrate the usefulness of GIS to solving practical problems and foster enhanced understanding.
  • End-of-chapter summaries, questions, and further reading allow students to check their understanding and explore the subject further.
  • An Online Resource Centre features additional resources for students and lecturers, enhancing the educational value of the text.
  • The book has been redesigned in full-colour, enlivening the text, artwork, and photographs and helping students to visualize the concepts being explained.
  • A new chapter on visualization has been added, covering topics including ephemeral and permanent output, three dimensional visualization, and virtual reality.
  • Dynamic modelling is also now covered in a new chapter, which provides a detailed introduction to the connections between GIS and these models.
  • The statistical analysis of geographical data is covered in another new chapter.
  • Coverage of mobile GIS, remote sensing, network analysis, spatial analysis, point pattern analysis, and digital elevation models has been enhanced.
  • Common datasets are now used throughout the book to illustrate how one set of data can be explored and applied in numerous ways.

Previous Publication Date(s)

February 1998
July 1986

Table of Contents

    1. Geographical information: society, science, and systems
    2. Data models and axioms: formal abstractions of reality
    3. Geographical data in the computer
    4. Building on the database
    5. Visualization
    6. Exploring geographical data
    7. Analysis of discrete entities in space
    8. Interpolation 1: deterministic and spline-based approaches
    9. Interpolation 2: geostatistical approaches
    10. Analysis of continuous fields
    11. Digital elevation models
    12. Dynamic modelling
    13. Uncertainty and error propagation
    14. Current issues and trends in GIS

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