This book, entitled Advances in Spatial Data Handling, is a compendium of papers resulting from the International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling (SDH), held in Ottawa, Canada, July 9-12, 2002. The SDH conference series has been organised as one of the main activities of the International Geographical Union (IGU) since it was first started in Zurich in 1984. In the late 1990’s the IGU Commission of Geographic Information Systems was discontinued and a study group was formed to succeed it in 1997. Much like the IGU Commission, the objectives of the Study Group are to create a network of people and research centres addressing geographical information science and to facilitate exchange of information. The International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling, which is the most important activity of the IGU Study Group, has, throughout its 18 year history been highly regarded as one of the most important GIS conferences in the world.