• Barry Boots
  • Atsuyuki Okabe
  • Richard Thomas
Part of the The GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 70)


Definitions of what constitutes a system are legion, but arguably the most enduring is that given by Hall and Fagen (1956). Their system is a set of objects together with the relationships between these elements and their attributes. In geography, these objects are usually physical entities like towns, regions or stream links that form larger units like urban, national or drainage basin systems. The attributes of such objects are often measures of their capacity (population size, link length etc.) which serve to constrain the flows of people, information or energy between these constituent parts. At any point in time, these flows define the behaviour of the system and the purpose of their investigation is to develop an analytical capability to either reconstruct past behaviour or to anticipate future change. What makes geographical systems particularly distinctive is that their analysis usually requires the specification of relationships measuring locational characteristics of the objects like their degree of spatial separation. Typically, flows will be inhibited by such separation either through increasing travel costs or the laws of energy conservation.


Geographical Information System Geographical Information System Geographically Weighted Regression Spatial Decision Support System Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Boots
    • 1
  • Atsuyuki Okabe
    • 2
  • Richard Thomas
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Center for Spatial Information ScienceUniversity of TokyoBunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan
  3. 3.School of GeographyUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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