Land use professionals offered new information from industry experts.

Planning Support Systems, a new title from ESRI Press of Redlands, Calif., is both a practical and theoretical book that demonstrates how geographic information system (GIS) technology is being used--and may be used in the future--by planners, architects, engineers, developers, realtors, government and regulatory officials, and concerned citizens. Full-color maps, descriptive diagrams, three-dimensional representations, and work by some of the most well-respected planning scholars and professionals in the world make this book stand out, and it is now available for purchase.

Land use professionals at every level and in every field are now recognizing the effectiveness of computer technology over traditional modes of planning. The highly persuasive illustrative capabilities of computerized three-dimensional modeling and the increasing ease with which they can be developed has dramatically changed the nature of land use planning procedures. Everyone from urban planners and commercial developers to transportation system engineers is benefiting from the extraordinarily detailed visualizations, animated and manipulable three-dimensional models, and vast databases and supermaps of geographic information systems. Planners now have the option of virtually experiencing the models they are planning for their communities. They can walk, drive, fly, move buildings, build subdivisions, or run new highways, all while viewing the consequences of each change, variation, or idea on the community at large. Being able to view planning from a more definitive, "big-picture" point of view has helped professionals keep sight of the needs of the community at the same time they are accomplishing their developmental goals. GIS has allowed many communities to expand and grow while keeping the concerns and interests of all citizens clearly in mind.

Planning Support Systems demonstrates current methods and possibilities of GIS in land use professions from 15 different perspectives. Increased efficiency, capacity for scope and detail, and clarity at every stage of the planning process are the common denominators in each chapter and comprise the most obvious advantages of these powerful new tools; however, other, more subtle ones are just as valuable. The intersection of planning technology, for example, is helping integrate the work of everyone involved in the planning process, making it easier for planners to plan with the people in their communities, not just for them. This kind of consensus building and broad-based participation goes a long way toward ensuring the sustainability and long- term health of cultural and commercial development.

Editors Richard Brail of Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Richard Klosterman of the University of Akron have assembled papers from colleagues around the globe who are working to expand both the applicability and understanding of the most important issues in computer-aided planning.

A full-color, softcover edition of Planning Support Systems (ISBN 1-58948-011-2) has a list price of $39.95 and is presented by ESRI, the world's leading provider of GIS software. It is available at better bookstores, online at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, please contact your local ESRI distributor; see for a current distributor list.