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Terms starting with S

A Python script is a file that contains Python code. The filename needs to have the extension .py. Generally, in order to run the file, the user needs to call the script from the Python interpreter.

There are two types of geographic data—vector data (points, lines, and polygons) and raster data (pixels). The most common way that vector data is stored is in the format of a shapefile. Therefore, a shapefile is a file type that stores vector data.

“Situated ethics,” here, refers to the notion that a person’s understandings of and commitments to ethics or morality are greatly linked to their own experiences, positionalities, and political orientations. Note that this understanding of “situated ethics” is an application of Donna Haraway’s idea of “situated knowledges” (1988) to the arena of ethical perspectives.

stort() is a method that sorts the items from a list in alphabetical order.

a GIS operation that affixes data from one feature layer’s attribute table to another from a spatial perspective. Spatial joins begin by selecting a target feature and comparing it spatially to other feature layers. There are two types of spatial joins—spatial join by attribute and spatial join by location. Both of them are ways that the mapping software will let you add data from one map layer or file to another map layer. A spatial join by attribute is used when you want to join non-spatial data, such as a text file, to spatial data, such as a shapefile. A spatial join by location is used when you want to join two layers of spatial data (e.g. a points layer to a polygon layer).

is based on adding the attributes from one layer to another based on a shared attribute or variable.

is when you have two shapefiles that you want to combine based on where the features are located on the map. For example if you have a map of US states and you want to add information about its cities, you can run a spatial join by location.


SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and is a programming language for interacting with data in a relational database.

SQLite is one implementation of SQL, which requres less work, operates on regular text files and does not require a server connection unlike other implementations such as PostgreSQL and MySQL.

A process of collapsing words in an attempt to reduce the number of words, and get a realistic understanding of the meaning of a text. Stemming cuts off affixes to find the root (or the stem) of the word. See “lemmatization” in this glossary for another process of collapsing words in a corpus.

Words that appear frequently in a language, often adding grammatical structure, but little semantic content.

A data type in Python that represents a sequence of alphanumeric and/or special characters enclosed within single or double quotes. For example, the following are all strings: "hello world!" "The answer is 3" "!!!"

Surveillance refers to “the watch or guard kept over a person, etc., [especially] over a suspected person, a prisoner, or the like; often, spying, supervision” or “supervision for the purpose of direction or control” (source: Oxford English Dictionary online). Surveillance, per my understanding, includes research (including “big data” research) of people’s personal digital data that is conducted without their informed consent, as well as businesses’ or governments’ uses of various programs and devices to record or listen to people’s behaviors, data, voices etc.

Along with traceback errors, syntax errors are a common type of error in Python code. It appears when Python is unable to understand a line of code, meaning that there is a mistake. Often, syntax errors point to typos, indentation, or incomplete expressions, like missing quotation marks or parentheses. When a syntax error occurs, the interpreter will display a caret pointing to the area where the error occured. It will also display the message: SyntaxError: invalid syntax. Take a close look at the display message to get more information about your error, and help you with debugging.