In the past I’ve recommended two books on geo-spatial data analysis and presentation: Designing Better Maps by Cynthia Brewer and GIS Cartography: A Guide to Effective Map Design by Gretchen Peterson. Today I’d like to add a third to the list: The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis, Volume 1: Geographic Patterns and Relationships by Andy Mitchell.
Although Mitchell’s book has been available since 1999, it was new to me when I recently purchased and read it. I was looking for a book that would serve as a good primer for folks who are just getting started with geo-spatial analysis, and this book does the job quite well. It assumes that you know little about geo-spatial analysis and lays out the basics clearly and simply. Mitchell outlines the books contents as follows:
In this book, we’ve identified the most common geographic analysis tasks people do every day in their jobs:
- Mapping where things are
- Mapping the most and least
- Mapping density
- Finding what’s inside
- Finding what’s nearby
- Mapping change
As someone who knows a great deal about data analysis and visualization in general but a limited amount about geo-spatial analysis in particular, I learned a great deal from this book. It was useful to have several gaps in my knowledge filled in as Mitchell took me on a superbly organized and simply expressed journey through the fundamentals. If you’re new to GIS and want a good primer to start the journey on the right foot, I highly recommend this book.