UNIT 72 - GIS AND GLOBAL SCIENCE

UNIT 72 - GIS AND GLOBAL SCIENCE

Compiled with assistance from Helen Mounsey, Birkbeck College, University of London

  • A. INTRODUCTION
  • B. SOURCES OF GLOBAL DATA
  • C. CHALLENGES TO DATA INTEGRATION
  • D. EXAMPLES OF DATABASES AT GLOBAL SCALES
  • REFERENCES
  • DISCUSSION AND EXAM QUESTIONS
  • NOTES

    UNIT 72 - GIS AND GLOBAL SCIENCE

    Compiled with assistance from Helen Mounsey, Birkbeck College, University of London

    A. INTRODUCTION

    B. SOURCES OF GLOBAL DATA

    Remotely sensed imagery

    Terrestrial-based sources

    C. CHALLENGES TO DATA INTEGRATION

    Multiple sources

    Data volumes

    Geometric rectification, geographic referencing

    Issues of data storage

    Database model

    Documentation, access, dissemination, archiving

    Internal dataset consistency

    Merging terrestrial and satellite data

    In summary

    D. EXAMPLES OF DATABASES AT GLOBAL SCALES

    CORINE

    UN Environment Program GRID project

    Global Change Diskette Project

    Digital Chart of the World

    REFERENCES

    Most of the material in this unit is extracted from various papers in:

    Mounsey, H.M. (Ed.), 1988. Building Databases for Global Science, Taylor and Francis, London. See in particular papers by Simonett and by Peuquet in Part Two, and by Mooneyhan (on GRID) in Part Three.

    Additional material:

    Briggs, D.J. and H.M. Mounsey, 1989. "Integrating land resource data into a European Geographical Information System," Journal of Applied Geography 9:5-20. A good source on the CORINE project.

    IGBP, 1988. Global change report #4: a plan for action, International Geosphere Biosphere Project, Stockholm.

    Many other reports on global science are available from IGBP, ICSU and NASA.

    DISCUSSION AND EXAM QUESTIONS

    1. Discuss the relative advantages of the various spatial data models in global database building. Give examples of datasets which might be best suited to each type.

    2. The greatest problems in the construction of global databases lie not with the datasets, hardware or software, but with the "liveware" - the human element of use (or abuse!) of the databases. Discuss some of the issues which might lie behind this statement.

    3. Select one of the major disasters mentioned in this unit (or another known to you of similar magnitude). Discuss likely sources of data, and particular GIS techniques, which you would use to address this problem and its associated issues.

    4. Some parts of the world are relatively rich in spatial data, and others are relatively poor. Examples of the latter include much of the Third World and Antarctica. Because of gaps in coverage and variable quality it could be argued that the globe as a whole is data-poor. Is spatial data handling technology more or less valuable in data-poor areas? Discuss the arguments on both sides of this issue.


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