tion fields that they represent have proven useful, when informed by climatological understanding.

Display and Analysis

The traditional tool in geography for the display of spatially referenced information is the map. Cartography is a subdiscipline traditionally concerned with formalized procedures for making maps. To many, the term map connotes a fixed, two-dimensional paper product containing point, line, and area data. During the past generation, however, advances in data collection, storage, analysis, and display have greatly expanded this traditional view. The "modern" map is a dynamic and multidimensional product that exists in digital form. The advent of such maps has opened up new fields of research and application for geographic investigation.

Any geographer educated 25 years ago who returned to the discipline today would be impressed by the methods geographers now use to record and process spatial information (Laurini and Thomas, 1992). The changes extend beyond the development of GISs to new techniques for geographic visualization and spatial statistical analysis, which provide for an increasingly complex and contextual understanding of the world. This same observer would also be impressed by the problems that remain to be solved. For example, a substantial methodology now exists for statistical analysis of spatial data, but it has not yet been integrated into GISs. Indeed, as a platform for the investigation of scientific questions, GISs are still in their infancy. Many geographers believe that a large dividend would come from integrating GISs as information science with visualization techniques and spatial analysis methods.

The following subsections provide a brief review of some of the substantive methodological contributions of the discipline to display and analysis techniques. These include cartography, GISs, geographic visualization, and spatial statistics.


The traditional close association between geography and maps is appropriate given the discipline's concern with space and place. The symbiotic link between geographers and maps has ensured the persistence of cartography as a subdiscipline of geography within most academic settings.

The field of cartography has changed enormously during the past three decades, primarily because of the widespread availability of computers. Computers have made possible new forms of symbolization, such as dynamic (i.e., animated) maps, customized maps for individual users, and interactive maps. They have also made possible new methods for scientific visualization and spatial data analysis.

Geographic cartographers have made especially valuable contributions to

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