Integrating spatial data analysis and GIS: a new implementation using the Component Object Model (COM)
This paper presents a coupling strategy based on Component Object Model (COM) technology, for performing spatial analysis within a GIS. The strategy involves using a module which simultaneously manipulates software components from the GIS application and the data analysis application. We illustrate the strategy using an extension, written for the proprietary GIS ArcInfo, which performs areal interpolation, a statistical method of basis change commonly required by users of socioeconomic data. The extension creates an instance of a statistics package and uses it to process GIS data stored in ArcInfo, and then passes the resulting information back to ArcInfo where it is stored in a standard attribute table. This coupling strategy can, of course, be used with other COM-compliant GIS and data analysis software. COM-compliant software allows GIS analysts and researchers to create custom-tailored applications using components from many different sources. Because the GIS does not rely on a proprietary macro language for customization there is a potential increase in access to spatial analysis tools which were previously difficult to link with a GIS, and we explore and evaluate the potential of the coupling strategy presented here for the GIS and spatial analysis research community.
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