Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version



Cantarero, R., de Guzman, M. R. T., Taylor, S., Hong, S-H, & Choi, J-K. (2018). (Mis)Communicating with Geographic Information System Mapping: Part 2—Determining Data Cutoffs. Journal of Extension, 57(2).


©2019 Extension Journal Inc.


The increasing use of geographic information system (GIS) technology in various fields suggests the need for professionals, including those in Extension, to be mindful of communicating data accurately and effectively. This article examines approaches to creating classes or groupings within data as well as the weaknesses of each approach. Data break units discussed in the article include equal intervals, quantiles, and units resulting from natural breaks. Ideal situations for each type of data break are presented. The article emphasizes the need for Extension professionals to consider the effects of data grouping to avoid miscommunication when using GIS mapping.