It turns out to be hard, for me anyway, to write the preface for a third edition. As I tried to compose this I put a lot of electrons in the recycle bin. Most of what I have to say was said in the prefaces to previous editions. And who wants to want to wade through eleven pages of those in addition to this one! So what I will do is just to tell you about the new material in the text and then just abstract and reference earlier information and ideas.
I’m eliminating the Preface to the Second Edition. If you haven’t used the book before, you probably should read the Preface to the First edition, included after this one. First, of course, is that the material is oriented to ArcGIS Desktop versions 10.0 and 10.1. Where there are differences between these two, and there are several, I have usually pointed them out. However, those using 10.0 will occasionally have to adapt the Step-by-Step instructions, which favor version 10.1. I recommend using 10.1 if it is available and you are familiar with it.
(To indicate the extent of the changes, we can start with the fact that the functionality level names have changed from those in version 10.0 and before. In 10.1 ArcView is Basic, ArcEditor is Standard, and ArcInfo is Advanced.) The CD-ROM used in earlier editions has been replaced by a DVD, because the data sets are more extensive and all the figures in the book are available.
Since the first edition, sections and exercises have been added on the topics of:
❏ Publishing maps on the Internet, using ArcGIS.com.
❏ Using the Esri online data service to add basemaps to the student’s map.
❏ The terrain data structure, made possible by the emergence of LIDAR as a remarkable method of very dense data collection, is covered both in theory and by exercise.
❏ Layer packages – a welcome invention which facilitates the transfer of feature classes of all formats from one computer to another, without worries like relative path names and separate data transfers.
❏ Since this book is primarily aimed at preparing professionals for using GIS to do analysis and synthesis (topics separate from display and mapmaking, which, for completeness, is covered in considerable detail in Chapter 3), topology plays an important role. A number of exercises, therefore, emphasize the use of the topology capabilities of geodatabases, which is considerably different from those of coverages and completely absent from the shapefile format.
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