The purpose of this book and website is to show you—the GIS professional, app developer, web designer, or virtually any other type of technologist—how to become a GIS and imagery ace. Or put another way, to become someone who is a smarter, more skillful, and more powerful applier of image data within a GIS. Imagery is suddenly a big deal, and those who are adept at finding it, analyzing it, and understanding what it actually means are going to be in demand in the years ahead.
There are several potential audiences for this book. The first is the worldwide professional GIS and mapping community, the people who work with maps and geospatial data every day, in particular those who wish to do more with imagery in their GIS applications. If you’re a data scientist, cartographer, part of a government agency staff, urban planner, or other GIS professional, you already may be leveraging the web and pushing geographic information out to the public. You may already instinctively recognize the inherent value of imagery as an amazing data capture technology that integrates well with traditional vector-based geospatial data.
Another audience includes people new to GIS with an interest in things you can do with imagery—people like amateur drone pilots flying missions to map school campuses, real estate developers planning redevelopment projects, or citizen scientists and bloggers reporting about climate change who are perhaps coming to GIS through an interest in imagery.
Finally, this book will be of interest to people who just love to explore the world and look at fascinating pictures of the earth. For these “armchair” geographers and the rest, this book and companion website offer a wealth of gorgeous and sometimes troubling images as well as links to powerful imagery-based web apps and maps that weave interesting stories about our planet. The only prerequisite to benefit from this book is a desire to better understand your world through imagery and mapping, plus a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude.
This is a book that you do as well as read, and all you really need is a personal computer with web access. The adventure starts when you engage yourself in the process by opening the links, exploring maps and apps that others have made, and then doing the lessons to create your own maps and apps. These resources (over 200 maps, apps, videos, and images in all) are hyperlinked from this website.
This is a book about applying imagery in ArcGIS, the web GIS platform, and is the second in a series of Big Idea titles. If you’re new to GIS, you may want to check out the first in the series, The ArcGIS Book: 10 Big Ideas About Applying Geography to Your World. Although this volume is designed as a stand-alone work, many readers will also find the original book of interest.