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Re: GEOSTATS: philosophical question

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  • Tim Chatterton
    Richard, Many people also fail to realise that we have no access to anything other than subjective impressions of the world and therefore make claims about
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 4, 2000
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      Richard,
      Many people also fail to realise that we have no access to
      anything other than subjective impressions of the world and
      therefore make claims about science being objective or
      about truth. The problems concerning this issue are
      probably far more worrying.

      Tim.
      -------------------------------------------
      Tim Chatterton
      School of Environmental Sciences
      University of East Anglia
      Norwich
      Norfolk
      UK
      NR4 7TJ

      Tel:(01603)593115
      Fax:(01603)507719
      E-Mail: T.Chatterton@...




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    • Steve Friedman
      Richard, I follow the approach that I m making models, like bridges, airplanes, etc. These just happen to be in paper map form rather than plastic. However,
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 4, 2000
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        Richard,

        I follow the approach that I'm making models, like bridges, airplanes,
        etc. These just happen to be in paper map form rather than
        plastic. However, the analogy seems valid because no one would expect to
        be able to use a model car, plane, or bridge, we intitively understand
        that it is a representation of reality.

        Now for the maps you are creating. True they are models of reality, but
        they have a characteristic that should be integrated directly in the
        legend box which should be inclucded in any map you distribute. It is
        very wise to include a few lines explaining various aspects of the source
        data, such as the scale at which the original data was collected, how that
        scale differs from the map presentation scale and a few other useful bits
        of qualitative information. In particular, you should also have a
        statement regarding the "reliablity" of the map, If you used statistics
        in the development of the final map, how does the map correspond to the
        95% confidence intervals. Additionally, how does the data depicted on
        the map relate to a spatial confidence zone (does that quality of the
        input data vary spatially within a single theme, or across multiple
        themes), do you integrate maps of varying spatial resolution?

        If you include these statements with the map, you identify all of the
        known limitations of the input data, as well as protect yourself by
        acknowledging the limitations of the final product. If end users choose
        to ignore these declarations, what can you say except that it is easy to
        lead a horse to water, but it is much harder to get them to drink.

        Cheers
        Steve Friedman


        On Sun, 4 Jun 2000 Eeqmc11@... wrote:

        > Greetings all - my first post
        >
        > After reading the complex problems roaming around this board, I am hesitant
        > to post such a question. However, the more I make maps, graphs and charts
        > (per GIS, etc.), the more I am struck with the awsome repsonsibility of the
        > map (chart, graph, etc.) maker. I find two distinct problems in creation -
        > 1) the client rarely understands how many subjective decisions go into each
        > product and 2) the client rarely cares. I find then a third problem with the
        > intended audience 3) they generally truly believe that the map IS reality,
        > not mearly a subjective representation.
        >
        > since all models share this same problem (i.e., no matter how complete, the
        > model is still a model and is therefore subjected to subjective decision
        > making throughout its lifetime), I was wondering if anyone would care to
        > comment on the implications.
        >
        > Not a very rigorus question, but perhaps some fun!!
        >
        > thanks,
        >
        > Richard Hammond
        > United States Environmental Protection Agency
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > philosophical
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        >

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      • rplbrian@co.washington.wi.us
        Richard, You have hit upon something which has troubled me for sometime.... How do you communicate the reality of the data operating behind a map to the
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 5, 2000
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          Richard,

          You have hit upon something which has troubled me for sometime.... How do you
          communicate the reality of the data operating behind a map to the user/viewer of
          the map? I regularly suggest to users of maps produced by my staff to read a
          Mark Monmonier's "How to Lie with Maps". For the general user of cartographic
          products, it clearly summarizes much of what I try to convey to them in
          conversations.

          Brian Braithwaite
          Washington County
          Real Property Lister/GIS Manager





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