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Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS: A Workbook Approach to Learning GIS, 3rd Edition by Michael D. Kennedy

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Don’t Ignore Character-Based Information

Character-based information is the sort that many decision makers are most used to using but graphic information is the form that most planning professionals who advise decision makers deal with in formulating their recommendations.

Some humans, perhaps innately, are better at dealing with graphic information and some with character-based information. There is also physiological evidence to suggest that the two different types are processed by different hemispheres of the brain. One might draw a parallel with left-handedness and right-handedness.

It is not my purpose to suggest (or deny) that each person has an inherent dominance of ability to process character-based or graphic information but to point out the danger that an individual may well naturally opt for information in a particular form—just as her or she might naturally use a screwdriver with his or her left hand—when another form might be more appropriate in helping the person gain the necessary insights needed.

GISs can provide both character-based and graphic information, and any GIS that is used to provide only one type may be missing a good bet.

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