Overview Francisco Olivera, Ph.D., P.E. Department of Civil Engineering Texas A&M University.
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Overview Francisco Olivera, Ph.D., P.E. Department of Civil Engineering Texas A&M University
Overview Geographic Information Systems: database management systems in which the databases include geographic information. A key characteristic of GIS is the explicit linkage between geographic features represented on a map with attribute data that describe the geometric feature.
GIS History The term GIS was first used by Roger Tomlinson in the 1960s during his work with the Canada Land Inventory. A GIS was developed to analyze the data collected and to support the development of land management plans for rural areas. Work accomplished at the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis in the 1970s and early 1980s had a major influence on the development of GIS. In 1969, the Environmental System Research Institute was founded by Jack Dangermond, a Harvard Lab graduate.
ESRI Software History Toolbox GIS provides a command line interface, while desktop GIS provides a point-and-click graphical user interface (GUI). ArcInfo up to 7.x was a toolbox GIS used for spatial data development and analysis. ArcView 1.x was a desktop GIS used for displaying and printing data only. ArcView 2.x and 3.x, on the contrary, had some limited data development and analysis capabilities (compared to ArcInfo) without giving up its desktop character.
ESRI Software History The newest ESRI software ArcInfo 8.x and ArcView 8.x are desktop GIS with strong data development, analysis and display capabilities. Both ArcInfo 8.x and ArcView 8.x consist of three components: ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcTools each of which performs specific functions. The differences between ArcInfo 8.x and ArcView 8.x have to do with the number of commands available, but the interfaces are identical. ArcInfo 8.x includes ArcInfo Workstation which is identical the toolbox GIS available in previous versions of ArcInfo.
Programming Languages ArcInfo up to version 7.x and the current ArcInfo Workstation use Arc Macro Language (AML) as its programming language. ArcView 3.x uses Avenue, and object-oriented programming language developed specifically for ArcView. ArcInfo and ArcView 8.x use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a standard programming language in the Windows environment.
Transition The transition from ArcInfo 7.x and ArcView 3.x to ArcInfo 8.x and ArcView 8.x is being slower than observed for other software packages. Lack of backward compatibility keeps users from running Avenue applications with ArcInfo 8.x and ArcView 8.x. Lack of GIS applications in VBA for ArcInfo 8.x and ArcView 8.x also keeps users from switching to the new software.