The world’s current population is estimated to be more than seven billion, and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) affords a new way to experience that world.Dr. Bhuiyan M. Alam, associate professor of urban and regional planning in the Department of Geography and Planning, recently edited his first book, Application of Geographic Information Systems — 372 pages, comprised of 18 chapters and 48 different authors.
Through the use of cartography, statistical analysis and database technology, GIS reveals relationships, patterns and trends that provide a platform to understand, interpret, question and visualize the data in a variety of ways, including maps, globes, reports and charts.
“This book is geared to mastering the application of GIS in different fields of social sciences,” Alam wrote in the book’s preface. “It specifically focuses on GIS’s application in the broad spectrum of spatial analysis and modeling, water resources analysis, land use analysis, agricultural potentials, and infrastructure network analysis like transportation and water distribution network … ”
As an urban planner and civil engineer, Alam has focused on transportation planning, modeling and policy analysis, traffic safety, GIS, geospatial analysis and modeling, environmental planning, and the history of urbanization and city planning in South Asia. Experiential learning is a major focus of Alam’s teaching style.
“The most enjoyable part of editing this book was to learn the amazing applications of cutting-edge technology like GIS in different academic disciplines throughout the world,” said Alam, who joined the University in 2006. “The readers will be able to take away the phenomenal applications of GIS in the real world, which typically are not taught in academic classroom settings.”
His recent research focuses on the relationships among urban form, active transportation and health, and effective and efficient applications of GIS for advanced spatial analysis. He also has been investigating the demand change for public transit in the United States in the last two decades, and whether recent economic downturns have had any impact on such demand change.
Next, Alam plans to write a book on the evolution of “world cities” and their citizens’ techniques of adaptation and resiliency to climate change. Primarily, he would like to focus on cities like Dhaka in Bangladesh, Kolkata in India and New Orleans, areas he believes are most vulnerable to climate change; gradually, he then would include other cities in his book.