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Geographic information systems

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Abstract This article presents an overview of the development, capabilities, and utilization of geographic information systems (GISs). There are nearly an unlimited number of applications that are relevant to GIS because virtually all human interactions, natural and man‐made features, resources, and populations have a geographic component. Everything happens somewhere and the location often has a role that affects what occurs. This role is often called spatial dependence or spatial autocorrelation, which exists when a phenomenon is not randomly geographically distributed. GIS has a number of key capabilities that are required to conduct a spatial analysis to assess this spatial dependence. This article presents these capabilities (e.g., georeferencing, adjacency/distance measures, and overlays) and provides a case study to illustrate how GIS can be used for both research and planning. Although GIS has developed into a relatively mature application for basic functions, development is required to more seamlessly integrate spatial statistics and models. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article is categorized under: Software for Computational Statistics > Software/Statistical Software

Data overlays.

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Adjacency measurement contiguity matrix.

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Distance measurement and matrix.

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An example of geocoding.

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Geographic data elements.

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Hard drug use cluster overlain on percent never married rate map.

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Marijuana use clusters overlain on cirrhosis death rate map.

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Composite poverty index risk/needs assessment map.

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Trauma death rate risk/needs assessment map.

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Crime rate risk/needs assessment map.

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Reclassification function.

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Buffering along a complex feature.

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Radial buffering and neighborhood function.

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