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Gis in practice

The history of scientific and technological innovation is studded by adaptive evolutionary processes of putting scientific research findings into practice. Discovering a new theory, method, or technology is not always a warranty of its recognition and acceptance by users. When this is the case, it often requires a lot of effort by the end user to put science into action [18] by an adaptive process through which the user might modify the initial product into a new one. Differences among the two might be significant. Economic, cultural, societal, and institutional factors influence the innovation adoption in given contexts at different rates.
The GIScience and geoinformation industry in the last decades produced a plethora of theories, methods, and tools to solve spatial problems. However their diffusion and adoption in professional practice varies in the many application fields. Data availability, funding supply for implementation, and training facilities determined a wide range of GIS diffusion patterns in a variety of contexts. It is interesting to note how general patterns of GIS innovation and diffusion have recently been subject to a general turn toward giving broad access and diffusion to small pieces of (geo-) information, to use Frank and Raubal’s words [19], rather then continuing to search for advanced spatial analysis tools. That is to say that putting GIS into practice is not just a matter of quality data and efficient tools availability. The application user requirements often drive technology adoption toward unexpected trails in an adaptive process, which sometimes may offer as many interesting hints as research findings. This is particularly true in planning, which is an application field strongly related to economic, institutional, and sociocultural settings, where disciplinary theories, methods, and tools vary sometimes substantially in different local contexts. To this end, the third part of this book presents a series of application research and real practice case studies aiming at showing GIS theories and methods application to different tasks of spatial planning and decision-making with reference to sustainable development objectives and processes.
Chapters 18 to 29 are grouped in thematic sections regarding different sustainable development issues, namely concerning urban settlement dynamics analysis and forecasting, natural and cultural heritage preservation, wise use of energy, water resource and community safety management, public participation, and information system management to support governance and decision-making.
Sebastien Gadal opens the first section with Chapter 18. As introduced in Chapter 7 by Napryushkin and Vertinskaya, remote sensing data processing is a reliable source of information for detecting by thematic mapping anthropic impacts on the environment. Gadal analyzes the case study of the urban dynamics in Maghreb, Morocco. The Morocco Atlantic Metropolitan Area is subject to considerable growth forces. The lack of quality data availability to monitor ongoing urban sprawl causes serious problems with regard to settlement expansion control. To address this problem, which is especially common in developing countries where there is a lack of quality socioeconomic and geographic data, Gadal presents a methodology for multiscale geographic dataset generation by integrating different satellite data sources and processing techniques. The result is the availability of updated datasets, at different time steps, at a cost relatively lower than those required by traditional surveying campaigns, to monitor the urban dynamics and support settlement development control.

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