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Research in GIScience. Landscape ecology, health geography, crime analysis. People. Develop vs protect. Perspectives. Social theory. Scale. Linkages. HMO vs patient. Hierarchy theory.

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research in giscience

Research in GIScience

Landscape ecology, health geography, crime analysis



Develop vs protect


Social theory



HMO vs patient

Hierarchy theory

landscape ecology

Landscape ecology, a subdiscipline of ecology, is the study of how landscape structure affects the abundance and distribution of organisms. Landscape ecology has also been defined as the study of the effect of pattern on process (Turner 1989), where "pattern" refers specifically to landscape structure. The full definition of landscape ecology is, then, “the study of how landscape structure affects (the processes that determine) the abundance and distribution of organisms.”

  • In statistical parlance, the "response" variables in landscape ecology are abundance /distribution /process variables, and the "predictors" are variables that describe landscape structure.
Landscape ecology
landscape ecology2

Hedgerow network landscape illustrated with color infrared imagery and woodland / treerows overlay in green.

Landscape ecology
health geography

The role of place, space and community in shaping health outcomes and health care delivery

  • There are three main themes in the geography of health care (or medical geography):
    • disease ecology,
    • health care delivery, and
    • environment and health. 
Health Geography
health geography1

Disease ecology involves the study of infectious diseases (e.g., malaria, HIV/AIDS, infant diarrhea), including the spatial distributions of meteorological, biological and cultural phenomena associated with disease, as well as the social, political and economic barriers to positive change. 

  • The study of health care delivery includes spatial patterns of health care provision and patient behaviour and includes issues like inequalities in health (health status and accessibility), and deinstitutionalisation of the mentally ill.
  • Environment and health is a relatively new focus for health geographers which draws geography\'s long tradition in environmental hazards research together with health geography. Topics within this new tradition include environmental risk assessment, as well as the physical and psychosocial health impacts of environmental contamination.
Health Geography
crime analysis

A set of systematic, analytical processes directed at providing timely and pertinent information relative to crime patterns and trend correlations to assist the operational and administrative personnel in planning the deployment of resources for the prevention and suppression of criminal activities, aiding the investigative process, and increasing apprehensions and the clearance of cases.

  • Within this context, Crime Analysis supports a number of department functions including patrol deployment, special operations, and tactical units, investigations, planning and research, crime prevention, and administrative services (budgeting and program planning). (Steven Gottlieb et al., 1994, "Crime Analysis: From First Report To Final Arrest.“)
Crime analysis
crime analysis1

Historically, the causes and origins of crime have been the subject of investigation by varied disciplines. Some factors known to affect the volume and type of crime occurring from place to place are:

    • Population density and degree of urbanization with site locality and its surrounding area.
    • Variations in composition of the population, particularly youth concentration.
    • Stability of population with respect to residents\' mobility, commuting patterns, and transient factors.
    • Modes of transportation and highway system.
    • Economic conditions, including median income, poverty level, and job availability.
    • Cultural factors and educational, recreational, and religious characteristics.
    • Family conditions with respect to divorce and family cohesiveness.
    • Climate.
Crime analysis
crime analysis2
Crime analysis

course objectives

In this course you will learn about these different subjects and, in particular, learn about the spatial analytical methods used in each. In doing so, you will be exposed to some of the software programs typically used in these fields (in conjunction with a GIS such as ArcGIS).

  • More particularly, while considering landscape ecology we will examine the relation between process and pattern; while considering health geography we will examine how perspectives play a role in how we look for patterns / processes; and while considering crime analysis we will examine how the two sets of concepts (process and pattern, and perspectives) relate in a practical setting.
Course objectives
why gis

Data related to space:

Maps, remote sensing,

transects, collections

Human goals & aspirations:

Shelter, food, safety, health,

curiosity, recreation

Computer technology:

Hardware, software,


Scientific theories:

Land management,

geography, biology,

math, compter science

Why GIS?

GIS integrates disciplines and technologies

such as remote sensing, surveying,

photogrammetry, spatial analysis, cartography, computer science.

GIS integrates disciplines.