Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends

Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends

Donald P. Albert (Sam Houston State University, USA)
Release Date: March, 2012|Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 423
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0258-8
ISBN13: 9781466602588|ISBN10: 1466602589|EISBN13: 9781466602595
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Description & Coverage
Description:

The availability of geographically referenced data, the proliferation of geospatial technologies, and advances in spatial analytics have been a boom to applied geographers.

Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends is a resource for private and public sector applied geographers engaged as geospatial technicians, analysts, scientists, and managers. It includes chapters that highlight the use of geospatial technologies to explore applied geographic issues and problems; studies from economic geography, urban geography, population geography, medical geography, political geography, geography of education, geography of crime, and transportation geography are considered.

Coverage:

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Business and marketing geography
  • Climatology
  • Economic Geography
  • Geomorphology
  • Historical geography
  • Medical geography
  • Natural hazards
  • Soil geography
  • Tourism geography
  • Transportation geography
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Editor Biographies
Donald Patrick Albert is a professor of geography in the Department of Geography and Geology at Sam Houston State University (Texas, U.S.A.). He earned geography degrees from Salem State College (B.S.), Appalachian State University (M.A.), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.). His articles have appeared in such journals as Applied Geography, Complementary Health Practice Review, Journal of Geography, Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, The North Carolina Geographer, The Pennsylvania Geographer, The Geography Teacher, The Social Studies Texan, The Police Chief, Texas Journal of Rural Health, World Health Forum, and others. Dr. Albert has contributed as author, co-author, editor, or co-editor on the following books: Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends (2012), The Geography of Naturopathic Physicians in the United States and Canada (2006), GIS in Law Enforcement: Implementation Issues and Case Studies (2003), A Case Study in the Role of Environmental Values in Conservation: The Roanoke River Project (2002), and Spatial Analysis, GIS, and Remote Sensing Applications in the Health Sciences (2000). Dr. Albert is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research.
Editorial Review Board
  • Jonathan Comer, Oklahoma State University, USA
  • Thomas Crawford, East Carolina University, USA
  • Sonya Glavac, Arizona State University, USA
  • Carol Hanchette, University of Louisville, USA
  • Jay Lee, Kent State University, USA
  • John Strait, Sam Houston State University, USA
  • Fahui Wang, Louisiana State University, USA
  • David Wong, George Mason University, USA

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Preface

Advances in Applied Geospatial Research

On multiple fronts – academic, professional, and government – geographic information science and technology (GIS&T) is buzzing with glowing accolades (Nature Publishing Group, 2004; U.S. DOLETA, 2009; U.S. DOL, GITA & AAG, n.d.). Catching this wave of enthusiasm vibrating through the geospatial industries, IGI Global presents Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends (Albert, 2010a; Albert, 2010b; Albert & Strait, 2010). This volume is designed as a resource for private and public sector applied geographers engaged as geospatial technicians, analysts, scientists, and managers. It includes chapters that highlight the use of geospatial technologies to explore applied geographic issues and problems; studies from economic geography, urban geography, population geography, medical geography, political geography, geography of education, geography of crime, and transportation geography are considered. Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trend is a compilation designed to provide planners and policy analysts, practitioners, academicians (students, faculty, administrators) and others using GIS&T information to support education, training, and career initiatives (Section 1) and to offer studies that employ geospatial technologies (geospatial statistics, global positioning systems, geographic information systems, remote sensing, etc.) to answer practical, utilitarian, and applied geographic questions in human geography (IJAGR, 2009). Before describing the organization and content of this volume a brief section follows that defines “applied geography” and “GIS&T” and concludes with a synopsis of their evolution and intersection.

Applied Geography and GIS&T

Applied geography is “a type of research that uses geographic principles to solve problems” (Wilson & Smith, 2008, p. 2). It involves “the application of geographic knowledge and skills to the resolution of social, economic and environmental problems” (Pacione, 1999, p. 3, italics in original). This definition emphasizes the geographer’s toolbox (skills), but not to the exclusion of knowledge (principles), and recognizes the range of problems (social, economic, and environmental) suitable for investigation. Gibson’s proclamation that “the more that it is tied to problem solving the better” (Gibson, 2007, p. 35) further emphasizes the problem-solving aspect of applied geography. The “plethora of problem situations which confront modern societies” guarantees applied geographers no shortage of potential contributions (Pacione, 2004, p. 23). The expectation, of course, is that applied geographic research “solve problems that inform decision-making and policy” (Torrieri & Ratcliffe, 2003, p. 541) and ultimately improves the human-environment condition. Some use the terms GIS&T and geospatial interchangeably to describe the field or industry that “acquires, integrates, manages, analyzing, maps, distributes, and uses geographic information and knowledge” (U.S. DOL, GITA & AAG, n.d.). Drawing from the disciplines of geography and information science & technology, GIS&T encompasses three interacting sub-domains: geographic information science (GIScience), geospatial technology, and applications of geographic information science and technology. One sub-domain, GIScience, involves understanding the “nature of geographic information and the application of geospatial technologies to basic scientific questions” (DiBiase et al., 2006, p. 5). With exceptions, two-way asymmetrical relations exist between GIScience and such cognate realms as philosophy, psychology, mathematics (symmetrical), statistics, and computer science. Another sub-domain, geospatial technology, supports the acquisition, storage, manipulation, analysis, and display of georeferenced data using geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, surveying and global positioning systems (GPS), mapping and cartography, 3-D imaging and other visualization tools. The remaining sub-domain, applications of GIScience and technology, demonstrates the “diverse uses of geospatial technology in government, industry, and academia” (DiBiase et al., 2006, p. 6). It is this third sub-domain, applications of GIS&T, that is illustrated within the pages of Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends.

Applied geography is an approach rather than a specialty because it “rejects artificial academic boundaries and highlights linkages between different geographical phenomena” (Pacione, 2004, p. 23). Nevertheless, applied geography is often treated as a specialty for the convenience of forming a group of individuals with shared interests from a larger organization. For example, the Applied Geography Specialty Group is one of over 60 specialty and affinity groups recognized by the Association of American Geographers. Applied geography, however, is not a specialty in the strict sense because it possesses neither an exclusive body of knowledge or “set of techniques, concepts, methodologies, and theories” (Torrieri & Ratcliffe, 2003, p. 541). Applied geography as an approach fosters connections between applied and pure sciences, academic and non-academic (professional) domains, client-driven and curiosity-driven research, human and physical geographic specialties, and the emerging entrepreneurial university (Gibson, 2007; Pacione, 2004).

Applied geography has grown through a synergetic union with GIS&T. Torrieri and Ratcliffe (2003) acknowledged that “the growth of applied geography has been fueled by the development and exchange of geographic tools and resources” (p. 545). Recently the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration listed “geospatial” as one of fourteen high growth industries (U.S. DOLETA, 2009). This was forecasted earlier in the widely disseminated piece titled Mapping Opportunities with the statement that “[T]he demand for geospatial skills is growing worldwide” (Nature Publishing Group, 2004, p. 376).

Over the last decade use of GIS&T has become a modus operandi within applied geographic research circles. Montz and Tobin (2007) categorized articles appearing in the Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences by primary and secondary themes for three time periods within 1979-2006. The theme “GIS” started off at 5% during 1978-1987, jumped to 17% during 1988 to 1997, and dropped to 12% during 1998-2006 (Box 1). Rather than indicating a decline in these technologies however, Montz and Tobin (2007, p. 7) explained that

By the third time period, GIS tools are well embedded in geographic research, and are now beginning to include a broader array of approaches known as geographic information science (GISci). While the technology is probably used in a larger proportion of the papers than indicated by the 12 percent, it does not show up as a primary or secondary theme to the research.

Their assessment suggests that GIS&T no longer holds the novelty status among applied geographers it did in the late 1970s.

Box 1. Focus on geographic information systems

There have been numerous attempts to define geographic information systems (GIS) since its emergence in the 1960s, but no universal definition exists (DiBiase et al., 2006; Maguire, 1991; Taylor, 1991). No wonder. Describing GIS is akin to the story about six blind men who variously described an elephant as a wall, spear, snake, tree, fan, and rope. Nevertheless, paring aspects from existing definitions one might envision GIS as the integration of hardware, software, and personnel to capture, store, manipulate, analyze and display geographically referenced data for problem solving and decision support (Aronoff, 1989; Cowen, 1988; ICMA, 1991). These essential elements of GIS are illuminated throughout Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends.

Organization

This volume includes nineteen chapters authored and co-authored by thirty-seven authors and co-authors. The authors were drawn from both academic and professional circles and represent twenty-two entities (universities, institutes, and other organizations) from the United States, Canada, and Kenya. The contributors are well credentialed with titles such as distinguished professor, executive director, endowed chair, and award recipient attached to their positions. Most of the authors are nationally recognized in the field of applied geography and are proven leaders in this field. I encourage the readers to examine their biosketches (see About the Contributors beginning on page 319).

Section 1 is titled “Philosophy, Education, Training, and Prospects in Applied Geospatial Industries” and it includes eight chapters. The keywords amalgamated from the chapters in Section 1 illustrate the range of topics covered: geospatial technologies (GIS, GPS, remote sensing), education and training, and career paths and opportunities (Table 1). For geography departments and other academic units, institutes, and organizations proposing or offering education and training in geospatial technologies these chapters provide justification for development and expansion of geospatial personnel, programs and facilities (Box 2).

Box 2. Advice to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing geospatial certificates and degrees

I have been teaching geography at Sam Houston State University for more than a decade. It is still amazing to me that so many students, and for that matter faculty, don’t have a clue about geospatial technologies. I have come to expect geographic illiteracy among college students, colleagues from other departments, and a large proportion of the general public. The concept of geographic illiteracy is easy to illustrate with ready examples posted to You Tube (i.e., geographic flubs by Miss South Carolina, Kellie Pickler on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, and Jay Leno’s Jaywalking segments come to mind). If this is done without too much seriousness it amuses the students while hitting the notion of geographic illiteracy out-of-the-park. Another ramification of geographic illiteracy is the failure of students to recognize that geospatial technologies can enhance their major or career options. I often have to make a strong pitch to students majoring in marketing, general business, biology, environmental science, criminal justice, construction management and so forth that enrolling in geospatial courses or declaring minors in geography or GIS would enhance their skill set and improve their employment prospects. This usually involves chats after class, tours of our geospatial lab facilities, introductions to select faculty, copies of our latest departmental newsletter, and so forth. Even then some students still don’t get it and perhaps are best to wander elsewhere (I suppose they could have a revelation later). For those students convinced of the value of a geospatial education, and perhaps are already majors, minors, or pursuing a certificate, the challenge is to help them select a complementary major or minor. Why? Because one should posses a knowledge base on some subject whether it is political science, health care delivery, banking, criminal justice, or whatever as a prerequisite for geospatial analysis. It is difficult to conduct valid geospatial analysis without a thorough understanding of the phenomena under investigation. Therefore, I encourage students interested in geospatial technology to either choose a major in geography with a minor in another subject or vice versa choose a major in something other than geography but minor in geography or GIS. My philosophy is not to “convert” all to majors and minors to geography, but to help them contemplate their degree program and career opportunities.

Section 2 is titled “Focus on Human Geography Specialties in Applied Geospatial Research” and it includes eleven chapters. Again, examination of keywords provides insight into content and coverage (Table 2); for example, the materials herein revolve around applied human geographies including: economic, urban, population, medical, crime, and transportation geographies. Numerous geospatial techniques permeate these studies including least cost path, dasymetric mapping, areal interpolation, and retail gravitation to name just some. Together Sections 1 and 2 offer a balance of content of interest to both the academic and practitioner, and those in between.

Table 1. Keywords from “Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making"

Section 1

Philosophy, Education, Training, and Prospects in Applied Geospatial Industries

Section 2

Focus on Human Geography Specialties in Applied Geospatial Research

Access to Care

Applied Geography

Career Ladders

Careers

Computer Laboratory

Content Analysis

Critical Incident Management

Curricular Analysis

Decision Making

Departmental Resources (Geography)

Disaster Management

Educational Trends

Evaluation

Geographic Skills

Geographic Information Science

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Knowledge

Geomatics

Geospatial Definition

Geospatial Technology

Geospatial Workforce

GIS Education

Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

Gynecologic Oncologist

Immersive Training

Incident Command

Job Titles

Jobs

Kaplan-Meier Survival

Kentucky

Learning Community

Ovarian Cancer

Public Policy

Remote Sensing

Research Design

Sense of Place

Simulation Training

U.S. Department of Labor

Workforce Imbalance

3-C Corridor

Academic Quality

Areal Interpolation

Banking

Blacks

Branching

Brand Preferences

Burger King

Burglary

Business Geography

Competition

Concentration

Congressional Districts

Contingencies

Crime

Dasymetric

Deregulation

Disaster Response and Management

Disasters

E-Index

Fast Food

Geographic Health Disparities

Geographic Information Systems

Health Expenditures

HHI

High-Speed Rail

Illinois

Interpolation

Land Use/Land Cover Change

Landscape Analysis

Least Coast Path

Location Factors

Low Income Housing

Markets

McDonald’s

Mismatch

Mortality Rates

Ohio Hub Project

Population Estimation

Public Assistance

Public-Private School Choice

Race Retail Location

Racial Preferences

Rail Routing

Rapid Urban Growth

Remote Sensing

Residential Mobility

Retail Gravitation

Section 8 Housing

Spatial Clustering

Spatial Population Estimation

Trade Areas

Whites

SECTION 1: PHILOSOPHY, EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND PROSPECTS IN APPLIED GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRIES

Section 1 of Geospatial Technologies and Advancing Geographic Decision Making: Issues and Trends provides fresh perspectives on education, training, and employment opportunities useful to individuals, departments, institutes of higher education, and industries embracing GIS&T. Chapter 1 is based on Barry Wellar’s James R. Anderson Lecture in Applied Geography, sponsored by the Applied Geography Specialty Group, and delivered in Denver at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Wellar shares valuable perspectives on applied geographic research gained during a career spanning over 40 years. He stresses that synergy exists when combining curiosity-driven and client-driven research methodologies. Wellar’s experience is that the best researchers are those that “ask the question ‘Who cares’ about the value of a research finding, raise the question in both domains, and use the answers to chart the path of future research initiatives in both domains” (Wellar, 2010, p. 4).

Westlund (Chapter 2) reviews the results of a web-based survey of disaster management practitioners. The majority of those surveyed use, or plan to use, geospatial technology, however, their level of geospatial knowledge was found to be rather low (Westlund, 2010). Those within the academic community possessing the requisite expertise and facilities might be encouraged to engage the entrepreneurial university spirit (Bailly, Gibson, & Haynes, 2008) and offer specialized geospatial training and workshops to mitigate known geospatial deficiencies within particular user groups (disaster management, law enforcement, health care). Let’s hope that the long-standing underutilization critique (Gould, 1992) leveled against certain GIS user groups will eventually diminish.

Next, Richard Boehm and Audrey Mohan (Chapter 3) document the continuing vibrancy of geospatial jobs for students graduating with geography degrees and concomitantly for faculty to fill positions requiring expertise in geospatial technologies. With the infusion of the geospatial technologies across an ever increasing range of applications (i.e., military, criminology, and health care services) Boehm and Mohan conclude that geography departments deem GIS as proprietary and establish its primacy on respective college campuses.

The chapters by Robert Hickey (Chapter 4) and by David Webb and David Hoffpauir (Chapter 5) address issues pertaining to the configuration of hardware and software options, and stress the important role that layout design plays in facilitating the operation of their respective geospatial facilities. These chapters share a common theme, yet their target audiences are quite different. Hickey’s primary audience is students (although faculty are not excluded) and a student-centered organization of the geospatial classroom has enabled him to successfully “reach” this audience. By efficiently organizing classroom furnishings and other accouterments he was able to create spaces conducive to the creation of informal learning communities, thereby stimulating the development of a center for geographical education (Hickey, 2010). Webb and Hoffpauir target law enforcement professionals through the Incident Command Simulation Training Program (InCoSiT) at Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas). InCosiTs Incident Command Post (ICP) is equipped with state-of-the-art computer hardware, software, and personnel that support the integration of geospatial technologies into simulation training scenarios (i.e., hostage crisis, terrorist attack, natural disaster). ICPs most impressive hardware item is a super high-resolution digital imagining table (DIT) large enough (65 inch diagonal screen) to overcome the “huddled group” effect by affording full access to simultaneous viewers (Webb & Hoffpauir, 2010).

Expanding on the employment theme Wikle (Chapter 6) analyzed online job ads for geospatial positions to gauge the qualifications and job titles requested by employers. Using this information, he suggests a model of GISci job titles and career ladders for the GISci technician, analyst, and scientist paths (Wilke, 2010). Lawrence Estaville (Chapter 7) reviews the current status and future prospects in the geospatial workforce in the United States. Esatville foresees continued strong demand in the geospatial workforce particularly for those positions requiring more sophisticated modeling, design, and research capabilities (Estaville, 2010). Finally, Mary Gordinier and Carol Hanchette (2010) provide an example of applied geospatial research using ovarian cancer survival rates and access to care in Kentucky (Chapter 8). Their chapter not only illustrates Wellar’s challenge of combining curiosity-driven and client-driven research methodologies, but the authors were also rewarded with “some surprising results” (Hanchette, personal communications, December 15, 2008).

SECTION 2: FOCUS ON HUMAN GEOGRAPHY SPECIALTIES IN APPLIED GEOSPATIAL RESEARCH

Topics in Section 2 span across a wide spectrum of geographic specialties on economics to crime (Table 2). The authors employed the geospatial technologies to calculate a host of statistical and spatial analytic measures including least cost path analysis, Thiessen polygons, gravity models, autocorrelation statistics, landscape shape index, areal interpolation, and more.

Table 2. Snapshots from Section 2

Author(s), (2010)

Geographic Specialty

Geospatial Technologies

Statistical & Spatial Analytic Measures

 

Klass

Economic Geography (Retail)

Geographic Information Systems

Gravity Models, Centroids, Thiessen Polygons

Hernandez & Svindal

Economic Geography

(Retail)

Cartography

Distribtion

Joseph

Economic Geography

(Retail)

Geographic Information Systems

Ordinary Least Square Regression, Moran’s I

Zhou

Economic Geography

(Banking)

Spatial Analysis Software

(Concentration)

E-Index, HHI

Song

Economic Geography

(Housing & Residential)

Geographic Information Systems

Getis-Ord’s Gi Statistics

Kim

Urban Geography

Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing

Shape Index

Jordan, Watkins, Biegon et al.

Population Geography

Geographic Information Systems

Spatial Estimation

Zhang, Anderson, Cowen & Mitchell

Public Policy

(School Choice)

Cartography

Descriptive Statistics, Multiple Regression

Rock, Mukkett, Algharib, Schaffer & Lee

Transportation Geography

Geographic Information Systems

Least Cost Path

Wilson & Mansfield

Medical Geography

Cartography/Geographic Information Systems

Areal Interpolation, Dasymetric Mapping

Gong

Geography of Crime

Remote Sensing

Data reclassification, Overlay Operation, Scatter Plot, Dot Distribution, Choropleth Mapping, Stepwise Regression

Chapters 9-13 present a wide range of applications encompassed within the realm of economic geography. Klaas (Chapter 9) compared the gravitation fields and trade areas of existing retail business centers in New Britain, Connecticut, with scenarios of one-half, one-fifth, and three times strength assumptions. This type of analysis allows business managers to visualize contingencies that alter the size, shape, and strength of competing trade areas (Klaas, 2010). Hernandez and Svindal (Chapter 10) examine the spatial distribution of major retail chains in urban Canada from 2001 to 2011. Using descriptive statistics and cartographic analysis the authors glean some emerging retail location strategies (Hernandez & Svindal, 2010). Joseph (Chapter 11) employed ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression and residual mapping to assess locational characteristics and situational factors associated with the fast food competitors McDonald’s and Burger King. The author’s discussion outlined specific geographic differences between these two fast food chains (Joseph, 2010). Zhou (Chapter 12) measured the concentration of retail banking services across the time span 1982 to 2007 for New York and Illinois. Zhou’s analysis allowed for definitive statements about the changing distribution of bank deposits and bank branch offices in this Tale of Two States (Zhou, 2010). Chapter 13 explores whether or not the federal low-income housing program (Section 8) has had an effect on the concentration of poverty in urban areas. Using Jefferson County, Kentucky, Song and Keeling (2010) employ a spatial autocorrelation statistic to delineate hot spots of Section 8 housing and juxtaposed the resulting clusters with Black population, median household income, and median housing value.

Chapters 14 and 15, respectively, discuss geospatial approaches to measuring spatial-temporal change of urban landscapes (Kim, 2010) and spatial population estimation techniques (Jordan, et al. 2010). These studies establish the value of remotely sense data to examine issues in human geography. Chapter 14 demonstrates the use of geospatial technologies to calculate landscape shape indices to measure urban growth across three decades (1984, 1994, and 2004) in northeastern Ohio (Kim, 2010). Jordan and colleagues’ (Chapter 15) review practical approaches to spatial estimation of disaster-affected populations. The authors discuss the advantages of using LandScan (population estimates) with Population Explorer (Internet GIS) in order to answer queries about local population distribution and composition (Jordan et al., 2010).

The next two chapters (16 and 17) deal with using spatial analysis to assess public policy issues in South Carolina (Chapter 16) and Ohio (Chapter 17), respectively. Zhang et al. (2010) studies public-private school choice using descriptive statistics, multiple regression, and cartographic analysis (juxtaposition of dot and choropleth themes). Their findings have both theoretical and practical implications pertaining to education policies in the United States. Rock et al. (Chapter 17) employ a least cost path method to estimate costs of selecting a high-speed rail route for Ohio’s 3-C Corridor (Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati). The authors developed two scenarios incorporating slope and land cover and weighting these with construction and acquisition costs. The least cost path scenarios were juxtaposed with the Ohio Hub Project‘s (OHP) route for comparison (Rock et al., 2010).

Chapters 18 and 19 both address the issue of integrating statistics aggregated at incompatible zonation units. James Wilson and Christopher Mansfield (Chapter 18) demonstrate a methodology which transforms and merges health statistics from counties to respective congressional districts (CD) and effectively links, at least geographically, health and politics— topics that have been dominating the national scene since 2008. Their results provide legislators information at a geographic scale – the CD – that facilitates comparisons between congressional districts (Wilson & Mansfield, 2010). While Wilson and Mansfield focus on mortality rates and interpolating county-level statistics to congressional districts, Gong’s (Chapter 19) challenge is to interpolate crime statistics (burglaries) from police beats to census tracts. Interpolating crime statistics from police beats to census tracts provides the added value of linking with demographic and socio-economic data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Gong’s tackled this problem by reclassifying remotely sensed data for Houston into seven land cover types (high intensity developed, medium intensity, low intensity developed, developed open space, agriculture, vegetation, and others) to account for population density within land cover types (Gong, 2010). This is an improvement over simpler interpolation approaches that assume a linear or uniform population distribution across geographic units (i.e., census tracts).

The studies highlighted in Section 2 offer intriguing and solid applications useful for problem solving and decision support. The potential for other applications and geospatial solutions is unlimited. The editor, therefore, expects subsequent volumes in this series to follow.

Donald P. Albert

Sam Houston State University, USA

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Portions of this chapter were reprinted with the expressed permission of IGI-Global from previously published editorial prefaces appearing in the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research (Albert, 2010a; 2010b, 2010c). Chapters 1-19 herein are reprinted by IGI Global from volume 1(1-4) of the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research with signed consent from an author’s warranty and transfer of copyright agreement with contributors. Dr. Jay Lee, executive director of the Applied Geography Conferences, Inc., transferred copyright from the Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences (AGC) to IGI Global for the following authors: Hernandez and Svindal, Gang, Joseph, Song and Keeling, Rock et al., and Zhou. The chapters originating from the AGC were revised, expanded significantly in most instances, and sent out for a second round of peer-reviews before being accepted for publication with the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research. I would like to acknowledge Jay Lee, Executive Director of the Applied Geography Conferences, Inc., Nairne Cameron, Past Chair of the Applied Geography Special Group, and 2003 Anderson Medal recipient Dr. Barry Wellar for their assistance during 2010, notwithstanding the tremendous support from countless others from the applied geography community. Several individuals at Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas) including Dr. Diane Dowdy, Associate Professor of English, Dr. John Strait, Associate Professor of Geography, Dr. Jaimie Hebert, former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and recently appointed Provost, Ann Holder, Director of Library Services, and numerous other colleagues have been encouraging and helpful.

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