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The SAGE Handbook of GIS and Society

The SAGE Handbook of GIS and Society

Edited by:

April 2011 | 576 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Over the past twenty years research on the evolving relationship between GIS and Society has been expanding into a wide variety of topical areas, becoming in the process an increasingly challenging and multifaced endeavor.  The SAGE Handbook of GIS and Society is a retrospective and prospective overview of GIS and Society research that provides an expansive and critical assessment of work in that field.

Emphasizing the theoretical, methodological and substantive diversity within GIS and Society research, the book highlights the distinctiveness and intellectual coherence of the subject as a field of study, while also examining its resonances with and between key themes, and among disciplines ranging from geography and computer science to sociology, anthropology, and the health and environmental sciences. 

Comprising 27 chapters, often with an international focus, the book is organized into six sections:

  • Foundations of Geographic Information and Society
  • Geographic Information and Modern Life
  • Alternative Representations of Geographic Information and Society
  • Organizations and Institutions
  • Participation and Community Issues
  • Value, Fairness, and Privacy
Timothy L. Nyerges, Robert McMaster, and Helen Couclelis
Geographic Information Systems and Society
A Twenty Year Research Perspective

Donald G. Janelle and Michael F. Goodchild
Concepts, Principles, Tools, and Challenges in Spatially Integrated Social Science
Marinos Kavouras and Margarita Kokla
Geographic Ontologies and Society
Stacy Warren
The Social Potential of GIS
Sarah Elwood, Nadine Schuurman, and Matthew W. Wilson
Critical GIS
Marc P. Armstrong, Timothy L. Nyerges, Shaowen Wang, and Dawn Wright
Connecting Geospatial Information to Society Through Cyberinfrastructure
Clodoveu A. Davis, Jr., Frederico T. Fonseca, and Gilberto Camara
Environmental Sustainability
The Role of Geographic Information Science and Spatial Data Infrastructures in the Integration of People and Nature

Nadine Schuurman and Nathaniel Bell
GIS and Population Health
An Overview

Martin Raubal
Cogito Ergo Mobilis Sum
The Impact of Location-based Services on Our Mobile Lives

Dimitris Ballas and Danny Dorling
Human-scaled Visualizations and Society
Melinda Laituri
Indigenous Peoples' Issues and Indigenous Uses of GIS
Carter T. Butts and Ryan M. Acton
Spatial Modeling of Social Networks
Hongbo Yu and Shih-Lung Shaw
GIS Designs for Studying Human Activities in a Space-Time Context
Ian Masser
Emerging Frameworks in the Information Age
The Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Phenomenon

Francis Harvey
Spatial Data Infrastructure for Cadastres
Foundations and Challenges

Anthony G.O. Yeh and Kenneth S.S. Tang
A GIS-based Computer-supported Collaborative Work Flow System in Urban Planning
Christopher T. Emrich, Susan L. Cutter and Paul J. Weschler
GIS and Emergency Management
Piotr Jankowski
Designing Public Participation Geographic Information Systems
Richard Kingston
Online Public Participation GIS for Spatial Planning
Sarah Elwood
Participatory Approaches in GIS and Society Research
Foundations, Practices, and Future Directions

Laxmi Ramasubramanian
PPGIS Implementation and the Transformation of US Planning Practice
Rina Ghose
Politics and Power in Participation and GIS Use for Community Decision Making
Roger Longhorn
Geographic Information Value Assessment
Emily Talen
Geovisualization of Spatial Equity
Peter A. Kwaku Kyem
Natural Resource Conflicts, Their Management, and GIS Applications
Daniel Z. Sui
Legal and Ethical Issues of Using Geospatial Technologies in Society
Helen Couclelis, Timothy L. Nyerges, and Robert McMaster
GIS and Society Research
Reflections and Emerging Themes


The wide ranging contributions to this very important volume demonstrate how success in using GIS to understand society is intimately linked to society's understanding of GIS. Tim Nyerges, Helen Couclelis and Bob McMaster have created the definitive guide to a technology that succeeds or fails depending upon our ability to accommodate societal context and structures. This handbook is lucid, integrative, comprehensive and, above all, prescient in its interpretation of GIS implementation as a societal process.

Paul Longley
Professor of Geographic Information Science, University College London

This is truly a handbook - a book you will want to keep on hand for frequent reference and to which GIS professors should direct students entering our field... Selection of a few of the chapters for individual attention is difficult because each one contributes meaningfully to the overall message of this volume. The SAGE Handbook of GIS and Society is an important collection of articles that will set the tone for the next two decades of discourse and research about GIS and society.

Journal of Geographical Analysis

From a broader perspective, the various approaches, topics and applications presented in the book effectively clarify how the spatial dimension helps us to understand social phenomena as a reflection of social relations but also as an integral component of those relations. Its chapters illustrate how geospatial technologies mediate between space and society while shedding light on classic debates conducted in social theory and human geography about the spatial dimension's role in social processes. I highly recommend this book to students, scholars and the general public.

Itzhak Omer
Geography Research Forum Journal

The editors have assembled an admirable set of contributions which demonstrate the use of geospatial technologies in a wide range of application areas and have drawn on these case studies to highlight approaches that should contribute to addressing such concerns and thus help meet such laudable (if ambitious) aspirations.

Gary Higgs
International Planning Studies

The 27 chapters of the book allow a two way exploration of the challenging issues related to GIS and Society. The longitudinal path give an account how GIS in fifty years moved from the computational management of geographic information performed into specialized scientific, business, military institutions to a widespread into public and private sectors and civil society, especially in the last two decades. Then the cross sectional path allows an exploration of the interconnected issues related to the role of geographic information and technologies in society. Starting from the interplay among technology and society and the GIS in the context of technological revolution, the Handbook accompanies the reader in a series of compelling encounters with key topics: change in technologies, alternative representations, spatial data infrastructures, participatory GIS, justice and ethics, exploring also future issues and challenges. The Handbook of GIS and Society, is a key resource as course book, but it is also a tool for professional life and a research companion about many issues related to social dimension of GIS.

Professor Massimo De Marchi
Ingegneria Civile Edile e Ambientale, University of Padova
May 29, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Timothy Nyerges

Timothy Nyerges is Professor of Geography at the University of Washington.  More About Author

Helen Couclelis

Helen Couclelis is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining the Geography Department at UC Santa Barbara in 1982, she spent several years as a professional planner and policy advisor in Greece. She has held visiting appointments at the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Waterloo, the Institute of Urban and Regional Development of the University of California at Berkeley, ... More About Author

Robert B. McMaster

Dr Robert McMaster teaches in the Geography department at the University of Minnesota, US. More About Author

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