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Re: GEOSTATS: philosophical question

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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 1 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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    • 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 2 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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