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Cover of Essentials of Geographic Information Systems v2.1
December 2017
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Essentials of Geographic Information Systems

Version 2.1
By Michael Shin, Jonathan Campbell, and Sierra Burkhart

Included Supplements

Key Features

  • Focus on the foundations and fundamentals of geographic information systems.
  • Concise and direct approach.
  • Customizable.


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This textbook is suitable for the following courses: Introductory Geographic Information Systems.

Essentials of Geographic Information Systems integrates key concepts behind the technology with practical concerns and real-world applications. Recognizing that many potential geographic information system users are non-specialists or may only need a few maps, this book is designed to be accessible, pragmatic, and concise. This textbook illustrates how geographic information systems are used to ask questions, inform choices, and guide policy. From the melting of the polar ice caps to privacy issues associated with mapping, this book provides an accessible, yet substantive, introduction to the use and application of digital maps, mapping, and geographic information systems.

New in This Version

  • Revised chapter and content structure designed to improve the learning of geographic concepts, highlight the elements of mapping, and reinforce the essentials of geographic information systems.
  • Updates throughout the text to reflect the state-of-the-art in geospatial technology and Web mapping techniques.
Instructor’s Manual

Instructor’s Manual

The Instructor’s Manual guides you through the main concepts of each chapter and important elements such as learning objectives, key terms, and key takeaways. Can include answers to chapter exercises, group activity suggestions, and discussion questions.

Instructor’s Manual

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

A PowerPoint presentation highlighting key learning objectives and the main concepts for each chapter are available for you to use in your classroom. You can either cut and paste sections or use the presentation as a whole.

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

Test Generator - powered by Cognero

Test Generator - powered by Cognero

FlatWorld has partnered with Cognero, a leading online assessment system, that allows you to create printable tests from FlatWorld provided content.

Test Bank Files for Import to Learning Management Systems

Test Bank Files for Import to Learning Management Systems

For your convenience, we've packaged our test items for easy import into Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, Brightspace/D2L, Canvas, Moodle, or Respondus.

Test Item File

Test Item File

Need assistance in supplementing your quizzes and tests? Our test-item files (in Word format) contain many multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short-answer questions.

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Michael Shin University of California - Los Angeles

Michael Shin is Professor of Geography and faculty director of the Geospatial@UCLA initiative at UCLA. He has over fifteen years of experience in developing and leading courses—both in-person and online—in geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial technologies. Michael’s teaching materials draw from his research interests in political geography, spatial analysis, and the social impacts of geospatial technology. He has also applied his expertise in geospatial analytics to various projects with McKinsey & Company, as well as with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Michael earned his MS and Ph.D. in geography, and his BA in International Affairs, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Jonathan Campbell University of California - Los Angeles

Dr. Jonathan E. Campbell is a GIS analyst and biologist based in Carlsbad, CA. Formerly an adjunct professor of GIS, cartography, and physical geography courses at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Santa Monica College, Jonathan has extensive experience collecting, mapping, and analyzing geospatial data on projects throughout the United States. He has over twenty years of experience in the application of GIS and biogeographic services in conjunction with the implementation of environmental policies and compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in geography from UCLA, an MS in plant biology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a B.S. in environmental biology from Taylor University.

Sierra Burkhart University of California - Los Angeles

Sierra Burkhart is the academic director of UCLA Geospatial in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Sierra specializes in Web-based mapping technology, spatial analysis, and geographic data visualization methods, and she teaches related courses in GIS and cartography. Her research also includes the study and development of pedagogy and instructional design methods for online teaching of GIS courses. She is an active software developer and a member of the open source GIS community. Sierra earned her PhD and MA degrees in geography from UCLA, and she also holds a BS in geography from Arizona State University.

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