Publication Date



The Center for Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, is part of the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department, and is funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the University of Massachusetts.


Polygon Explorer is a program written for Macintosh computers that links data stored in standard spreadsheet formats with a geographic database. It differs from similar programs such as MapInfo and ArcView in that it provides a statistical visualization capability in the form of bar charts, histograms, scatterplots, and other views, and further these views are linked to one another so that any action in one view results highlighting in other views.

Polygon Explorer was initially developed with the support of funding from the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, and parts of a donation form the Environmental Systems Research Institute and a grant from the Northeast Regional Center for Economic Development. The purpose of the original project was to develop an operational prototype that would allow the evaluation of the ideas and techniques of exploratory data analysis (EDA) of information stored as polygons in geographic information systems (GIS). The results of this earlier work as of mid-1992 are described in MacDougall (1992).

For this project, it was assumed that exploratory data analysis would remain as an important capability, but got purposes of work in economic development, it would be highly desirable to improve variable selection and spatial query capabilities and to simplify the interface so that it would better serve as an operational tool than as a platform for testing ideas.


Section 3: Pages 1-16