Chapter 3: Schuurman (The Devil is in the Data: Collection, Representation, and Standardization)

Data Collection:

Data collection is the most important aspect of GIS. Since GIS depends on the data, the accuracy and the precision of the data is vital. Data are collected using different measurement tools and techniques. Days where people used to walk around with a pencil and a paper looking and writing data to nowadays where data are computer generated makes a vast difference in GIS sector. Nowadays sonar imagery, radiation pulsar and even ultra-sonic sounds are used to collect data. Isn’t this fascinating? If we bring Newton to this world, he won’t be able to move an inch due to the technological shock he will face. Since, data collecting is such a big part of GIS, the use of global positioning system has helped geographers to conduct many data collection.  

Organizing Data:

It’s obvious to hit ones head to a wall when he finds that he has millions of data to record. In all likelihood he will use table like other information system to store GIS data. The tables are organized depending on the variables such as Location, Consistency, Scale, etc. The tables are organized differently depending on whether one is using a field or object data model.


People have started to share data. There are people in the world who just keep on recording data. You can compare these people to ‘young you’ where you used to collect coins when you had nothing else to do. People and organization records data and share them to the world and geographers simply use these data to get information.


In the process of gaining data people tend to input plenty of time and energy. From a normal economist point of view time is money so people are wasting money to gain data. So, the data that are shared can help you save cost, time and energy. This reduced cost can be very vital on the long run.

Collection, Standardization, Classification

Standardizing a data depends on the classification because of the dependent and independent variable. Some data can be standardized if it easily fits the required model but some needs tweaks and turns before standardizing. In order to standardize data, it is imperative to create categories or classes of spatial entities or attributes. Classification of data helps to keep them in a proper record. Standardization and classification helps people to model the data with much ease and can be very helpful to get a significance result.

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