questions concerning multiple geographic entitiesdo W r i t i n g

questions concerning multiple geographic entitiesdo W r i t i n g

STEP1: The research question is.. What is the reason or the causing of rush hour traffic in arlington VA.

STEP2: 1–2 page proposal with your: 1. research question, 2. body of evidence you are using to uphold your argument.

STEP3: Some of the geographical questions (adapted from the Geography Department of Penn State University):

Questions about space

  • Where is the entity located?
  • What is its extent?

Questions about attributes

  • What are the attributes of the entity located there?
  • Do its attributes match one or more criteria?

Questions about time

  • When were the entity’s location, extent, or attributes measured?
  • Has the entity’s location, extent, or attributes changed over time?

Simple questions like these can be answered effectively with a good printed map, of course. However, GIS becomes increasingly attractive as the number of people asking the questions and the required level of precision grows, especially if they lack access to the required paper maps.

Questions concerning multiple geographic entities

  • Do the entities contain one another?
  • Do they overlap?
  • Are they connected?
  • Are they situated within a certain distance of one another?
  • What is the best route from one entity to the others?
  • Where are entities with similar attributes located?

Questions about attribute relationships

  • Do the entities share attributes that match one or more criteria?
  • Are the attributes of one entity influenced by changes in another entity?

Questions about temporal relationships

  • Have the entities’ locations, extents, or attributes changed over time?

Notice that all of these questions deal with where things are, how things relate to other things, and how things change or persist relative to these locations. These are the kinds of questions that GIScience and professionals in the geospatial industry are prepared to answer.

These are hard to answer through GIS:

explanatory questions–such as why entities are located where they are, why they have the attributes they do, and why they have changed as they have. In addition, organizations are often concerned with predictive questions–such as what will happen at this location if thus-and-so happens at that location?

In general, GIS software packages cannot be expected to provide clear-cut answers to explanatory and predictive questions right out of the box.

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