(Mis)communicating with geographic information system mapping: Part 1-choosing unit of representation

Rodrigo Cantarero, Maria Rosario T. de Guzman, Sarah Taylor, Soo Young Hong, Jeong Kyun Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extension professionals are increasingly using geographic information system (GIS) technology to develop and inform programs and services. In this article, we use a mapping exercise to demonstrate how the unit of data can be applied and inadvertently misrepresented in GIS mapping. We contrast the use of counts, percentages, and location quotients with the same data and the resulting divergence in maps. The discussion addresses ideal circumstances for using each unit of data. Overall, the article illustrates the need for Extension professionals to be cognizant of the benefits and limitations of various units of data to avoid miscommunication when using GIS mapping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2TOT3
JournalJournal of Extension
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Extension and geospatial technologies
  • Geographic information system (GIS)
  • Misrepresentation in GIS use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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