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Nicholas R. Chrisman

Nicholas R. Chrisman

Doctor of Philosophy

About

91
Publications
25,854
Reads
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3,158
Citations
Introduction
Nicholas R. Chrisman has retired from a career at a number of universities in US, UK, Canada and Australia. He currently works (for no pay) as the Editor of the journal Cartography and Geographic Information Science. He retains a connection to his penultimate academic appointment at the Department of Geomatic Sciences, Laval University. Nick Chrisman has research interests in geographic information system (GIS) in all their complexities from measurement of the planet to the social outcomes of GIS applications. He has published two books (one textbook in two editions; one history of GIS at Harvard). His most recent article is 'Calculating on a round planet'. There is more planned, largely reflective on the whole field of GIScience.
Additional affiliations
January 2013 - December 2014
RMIT University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Discipline leader for geospatial sciences in School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences.
January 2005 - December 2012
Laval University
Position
  • Professor
November 2004 - November 2012
GEOIDE Network
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • Directed research operations engaging 32 Canadian Universities in partnership with government and private institutions. Trained highly-qualified professionals to engage in interdisciplinary projects.

Publications

Publications (91)
Article
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Article
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Wayfinding or leading a moving user from an origin to a target is one of the main research focuses in urban context-aware systems. Space and time are two dominant properties of the context-aware wayfinding process and spatio-temporal relevancy between the fixed urban entities and the moving users determine whether an entity is related to the moving...
Chapter
The term “Geographic Information System” (GIS) emerged in the 1960s and quickly became a rallying emblem in a complex terrain of interdisciplinary developments. In the early period, the focus was on technological developments and proof of concept. History was in the making, not a primary focus of scholarship. GIS and its related technologies create...
Article
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Despite incontrovertible scientific evidence to support a round Earth, GIS software implementation typically models the Earth with flat map projections. This choice has consequences that vary from mild to severe. This paper explores solutions that range from moderate measures to correct for map projection errors to radical revisions of standard pra...
Conference Paper
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The trend in modern land administration systems towards e-land administration aims at improving access to land information and services for all stakeholders. Vietnam is no exception in this trend. The government has made large investments to develop the land information and registration system with the strong support from donor-funded land registra...
Conference Paper
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The trend in modern land administration systems towards e-land administration aims at improving access to land information and services for all stakeholders. Vietnam is no exception in this trend. The government has made large investments to develop the land information and registration aspects of the land administration system with strong support...
Article
Land use planners and drainage engineers require, among other information, a clear map that delineates land subject to flash flooding before they can approve residential development. Through the application of spatially distributed models, the topographic wetness index (TWI) can be determined as an alternative to the traditional approach of delinea...
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Spatial relevancy is one of the primary types of relevancies that determine whether a context is spatially related to the user or not. This paper specifically addresses the use of fuzzy spatial relationships for detecting spatially relevant contexts. The proposed approach is restricted to the urban network and assumes that in such an environment, t...
Article
Light Detection And Ranging is now being widely used to provide accurate digital elevation model (DEM). One common method used to determine the accuracy of LiDAR - Light Detection And Ranging - vertical accuracy is compared LiDAR-derived DEM elevation with survey-derived ground control points (GCPs). However, because the DEM elevations are generali...
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Many cite CGIS and Tomlinson as the origin of GIS, yet it is instructive to examine the community of practice into which this idea was presented in 1967. A group of practitioners in CSIRO Lands Directorate had evolved a scheme for integrated land evaluation. This paper considers the track not taken, and the delicate connection between technology an...
Article
Maps are ubiquitous, and created by people of all skill levels. However, many users still struggle to effectively interpret spatial information. Such users have been defined as 'functionally map illiterate' (Clarke 2003). This inability, or perhaps, more accurately, disability, to interpret spatial information can lead to negative experiences. This...
Article
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Spatial relevancy is one of the primary types of relevancies that determine whether a context is spatially related to the user or not. This paper specifically addresses the use of spatial relationships for detecting spatially relevant contexts. A key aspect is the consideration of all types of spatial relationships (metric, directional and topologi...
Article
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Space and time are two dominant factors in context-aware pervasive systems which determine whether an entity is related to the moving user or not. This paper specifically addresses the use of spatio-temporal relations for detecting spatio-temporally relevant contexts to the user. The main contribution of this work is that the proposed model is sens...
Conference Paper
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The development of spatial data technologies has been spotty, with certain topics getting much more attention than others. This paper returns to an assessment of limitations written in 1986 by Professor Peter Burrough and finds a few of his observations that remain important. More recent calls for Digital Earth are reconsidered in terms of spatial...
Article
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Geographic information science (GIS) applications compute analytical results composed of geometric measures such as perimeter, distance between objects, and area. Usual practice operates in Cartesian coordinates on map projections, inducing a systematic variation due to scale error. The magnitude of these errors is easy to foresee, though rarely co...
Article
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Location-aware computing is a type of pervasive computing that utilizes user's location as a dominant factor for providing urban services and application-related usages. One of the important urban services is navigation instruction for wayfinders in a city especially when the user is a tourist. The services which are presented to the tourists shoul...
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Abstract This article reflects on the past 30 years of academic research in the field of spatial data quality and tries to identify the main achievements, failures, and opportunities for future research. Most of this reflection results from a panel discussion that took place during the Sixth International Symposium on Spatial Data Quality (ISSDQ) i...
Chapter
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Introduction In the beginning Changing the scene Elements of novelty References
Article
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Based on a hundred years of experience in geomatics education at Laval University, certain future directions for instruction emerge. This paper considers the content of geomatics courses and the methods of delivery. The content of courses must adjust to the convergence of technologies as, for example, when methods of location become embedded in mor...
Article
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Laval University's Department of Geomatics Sciences is celebrating its 100th anniversary. During this century, it has become a leader in its field, and more specifically in the last 20 years. Many factors contributed to this success, such as thefirst B.Sc. in Geomatics in the world, the arrival of a new generation of professors highly involved in r...
Article
In the so-called Information Age, it is surprising that the concept of information is imprecisely defined and almost taken for granted. Historic and recent geographic information science (GIScience) literature relies on two conflicting metaphors, often espoused by the same author in adjacent paragraphs. The metaphor of invariance, derived from tele...
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The emergence of geographic information systems (GIS) has raised a useful debate in the discipline of geography over the connection between technology and society. Proponents of GIS have argued from the beginning that their work had a value that warranted adoption; hence, that technology brought something to society. A wave of criticism argued that...
Article
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The search for "origins" in the history of technology is often disappointing. Each origin uncovers some predecessors vanishing into the mists. More importantly, the distinct competitors turn out to be much more entwined than imagined. This paper will describe the community into which automated cartography emerged. Being "first" is only something th...
Chapter
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This chapter examines the disciplinary interface between geography and technology from an ecological perspective. Our analysis of a few cases shows that the relationships between geography and technology are never clear-cut, but always intertwined like tree roots in a forest. The roots (or rhizomes) of each tree support an individual above ground,...
Book
This is a textbook, produced in the old-school book production process. These is no pdf, and copyright restrictions do not permit sharing anyway.
Article
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Research on "Society and GIS" has fallen into a trap to the extent that it separates these two realms. As an antidote to rampant technological determinism, this paper demonstrates how the highly technical decisions inside GIS software have a distinctly social flavor, in particular they specify a division of labor (and thus of knowledge). In the cas...
Article
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Scientific theories are maps of the natural world." This metaphor is often used as part of a deflationary argument for a weak but relatively global version of scientific realism, a version that recognizes the place of conventions, goals, and contingencies in scientific representations, while maintaining that they are typically true in a clear and l...
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Sharing technology with a larger community of users involves a process of explaining the technology, what it does, and how to use it. In simplest form, technology simply diffuses, unchanged from its original conception. While diffusion offers a neat model for certain processes, few technologies are unchanged as they develop and become implemented i...
Article
Requirement analysis plays a critical role in designing geographical information systems because it aims to capture user informational needs correctly and fully. Proposed analysis and design methodologies either adapt general-purpose approaches to this ...
Article
GIS research has a continuing thread devoted to classifying the operations performed by analytical software. Prior efforts to classify GIS operations have limitations and inconsistencies, often arising from an attempt to establish overly direct links between geographic procedures and arithmetical operations. The transformational view of cartography...
Article
Many definitions of ‘GIS’ have been proposed, but they are rarely discussed in the peer-reviewed literature. Most definitions in active use have serious limitations. Recent literature includes a variety of proposals to redefine GIS by changing the third word. This paper proposes an extended definition accompanied by a condensed form that contains t...
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Stevens' measurement levels (nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio) have become a familiar part of cartography and GIS. These levels have been accepted unquestioned from publications in social sciences dating from the 1940s and 1950s. The Stevens taxonomy has been used to prescribe appropriate symbolism (or analytical treatment) to each scale of mea...
Article
The social construction of geographical information system (GIS) technology requires two-way relationships between technology and people. GIS technology, like any other technology, is more than a tool; it connects different social groups in the construction of new localized social arrangements. We examine several instances of how GIS technology inv...
Article
Hypermedia materials have great potential in teaching but it is unclear how university geography courses will adapt to the new technology and evolve. We have used a two-pronged approach that places course-specific materials into an integrated hypermedia resource connected to external sources that complement and extend the content. This strategy pro...
Article
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Measurement is commonly divided into nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio 'scales' in both geography and cartography. These scales have been accepted unquestioned from research in psychology that had a particular scientific agenda. These four scales do not cover all the kinds of measurements common in a geographic information system. The idea of a...
Article
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The ODYSSEY system included a processor to perform polygon overlay and related functions of planar enforcement. The existence of this algorithm was reported in a number of publications as the work progressed (White, 1978; Chrisman, 1979; Dougenik, 1979; Lab for Computer Graphics, 1983), but the details of the actual algorithm and data structures we...
Article
This paper defines the critical components of cartographic time and compares temporal and spatial topologies. Because time is topologically similar to space, spatial data structuring principles can be adapted to temporal data. We present three conceptualizations of temporal geographic information and select one as the most promising basis for a tem...
Article
A test based on exhaustive overlay of two categorical maps provides a description of error distinguished into the likely sources of that error (a diagnosis of the error). The results of the overlay are characterized by geometric, topological and attribute criteria to separate the most likely positional errors from the attribute errors. This paper a...
Conference Paper
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While it is perhaps commonplace in studies of science and technology to call for closer examination of infrastructures-the assumptions taken for granted, this workshop process will be enriched by a few fresh examples. I will concentrate on the local practices of information management tied to the ancient institutions of land ownership. I take the p...
Article
A geographic information system (GIS) provides access to information for potentially large areas. Traditionally, cartographers have divided maps into sheets for technical reasons. While such units survive in digital databases, they serve a different function. The 'tile' system has limitations and deficiencies which must be understood by software de...
Article
Despite warnings in an earlier report concerning map errors, map overlay is a growing part of landscape planning, particularly as a result of developments in automated geographic information systems. Map error is unavoidable, but this previous analysis of error needs to be revised. Theoretical assessments of expected error should be combined with t...
Article
An integrated instructional program for cartography and geographic information systems in the Department of Geography at the University of Washington develops systematically with the use of a conceptual framework that consists of a matrix of instructional topics cross-listed by courses. Values in the matrix cells represent the depth of treatment fo...
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A model for error in geographic information should take high priority in the research agenda to support the recent explosion in use of GIS. While the treatment of surfaces and spatial autocorrelation is more mathematically tractable, much of the GIS layers consist of categorical coverages, analyzed through polygon overlay. This paper provides a bas...
Article
Innovation in cartography has come to depend on the design of software. This essay recounts two cycles of software development at the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics which used different models for intellectual control. In retrospect, each model had its successes, but in neither period were there enough new professionals trained to expand...
Article
There is often an analytical need to combine maps digitized from separately compiled map sheets into a sheetless product. If the maps are strictly compatible, the borders will overlay exactly and features will cross the borders smoothly. Digitized products, particularly those entered manually, fall short of this goal. Due to imperfect geodetic refe...
Article
This paper illustrates the use of a geographic information system to estimate soil loss for conservation planning under the Food Security Act. The methods used in calculating soil loss are described and maps provided to illustrate the use of such data in problem solving. The advantages and disadvantages of such systems are briefly reviewed. -R.H.Jo...
Article
Despite warnings in an earlier report concerning map errors, map overlay is a growing part of landscape planning, particularly as a result of developments in automated geographic information systems. Map error is unavoidable, but this previous analysis of error needs to be revised. Theoretical assessments of expected error should be combined with t...
Article
Digitizing still remains a major bottle-neck in the creation of geographical data bases. This paper examines procedures and equipment used in the Dane County Land Records Project as a tutorial for others interested in digitizing maps. Topological structure, determined from ‘spaghetti and meatballs’, detects the important errors and provides a basis...
Article
Continuous area cartograms distort planimetric maps to produce a desired set of areas while preserving the topology of the original map. We present a computer algorithm which achieves the result iteratively with high accuracy. The approach uses a model of forces exerted from each polygon centroid, acting on coordinates in inverse proportion to dist...
Article
Faculty representing a variety of disciplines at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are planning for the establishment of a center of excellence in land information science, for the purpose of providing a program that develops scholars and professionals, as recommended in a recent report of the National Research Council. They have begun by identif...
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Some authors have called for procedures to reduce the storage bulk of digital cartographic data by use of incremental coordinates. This paper presents some counter-arguments and some alternatives to storing cartographic features in a large inventory without excessive bulk.
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A geographic information system requires a method to maintain its contents over the long-term. This process must handle quality components along with the data directly depicted on a map. Quality information includes lineage records, accuracies of position and classification, integrity of data structure and temporal reference, among other things. Th...
Article
Efficient and flexible data structures are important to the development of computer mapping. Most current data banks are characterized by 1) structures which are convenient at the input stage rather than at the stages of use within computer programs, 2) separate and uncoordinated files for different types of geographic features, and 3) a lack of in...
Article
Understanding error in maps requires a combination of theory (new models) and practice (understanding how error can be measured in real applications). While other research emphasizes mathematical models to simulate error, a practical test provides a more useful judge of cartographic data quality. A comprehensive test, overlaying two categorical map...
Article
Critical approaches have a long history in cartography (Blakemore and Harley, 1980; Harley 1989). In the realm of GIS, a related, but not identical critical thread has emerged (Schuurman 1999). It has become accepted, in some measure, that geographic information technologies influence society and that they are influenced by society (Sheppard 1995,...
Article
The National Research Council report "Procedures and Standards for a Multipurpose Cadastre" sets admirable goals, but may not provide the most workable means to the ends. In the search for modernization, technical and institutional reasoning should be merged. Institutions can act as barriers to modernization, but they can also act in a more positiv...
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The primary goals in GIS design to date have been focused on technical efficiency. The fundamental principles for an information system do not derive from pure laws of geometry or from computing theory, because they must reflect the basic goals of society. While social goals may seem nebulous, they can be described adequately for resolving some of...
Article
Despite substantial attention by the research community, data quality perspectives still do not inform the developments of new tools. This paper introduces a different perspective on "truth" in science based on studies of science and technology. Then it develops an example of the quality dimensions hidden in the black box of coordinate transformati...
Article
Quality information has been recognized as an important component of geographic information systems, at least in theory. This paper expands on the definitions of quality information with particular reference to sources. Many systems developers believe that quality information will make enormous demands, and that the user may be unwilling to pay for...

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