Task Before we start let's make one thing clear, UML - Unified Modeling Language - is NOT the answer. It may, however, be AN answer or PART of a solution. Two particular benefits can be realised by the GIS analyst. Firstly, learning something of a specification language supports better communication between geographical analysts and their IS/IT cousins. Whilst not eradicating ambiguities in their technical expressions the two communities can at least converse in a common language. Secondly, the (relatively few) modelling techniques employed by geographical analysts can be accomodated within a much broader developmental framework. This should, in theory, encourage IS/IT developers to adopt spatial analysis in their solutions. Your first task is to find out something about UML by reading through this tutorial. There are many UML tutorials on the Internet and this one - by Braun et al. - is a friendly introduction for those without a computing science background. The Object Management Group are responsible for UML and link to numerous resources.
UML
[ ppt ]
Source: Trodd N, 2005. Unified Modeling Language.
UML Tutorial
[ URL ]
Source: Braun D, Sivils J, Shapiro A and Versteegh J, 2001. Unified Modeling Language (UML) Tutorial, Georgia, US: Kennesaw State University. <http://atlas.kennesaw.edu/~dbraun/csis4650/A&D/UML_tutorial/index.htm> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.
UML resources
[ URL ]
Source: Object Management Group. <http://www.uml.org> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.
Task In my (limited) experience the main use of UML within geographical analysis has been through the construction of three of the diagrams, namely those for Use Cases, Classes and Activities. For example, Use case diagrams can help in user needs analysis, Class diagrams are linked to good database design and activity diagrams can be used to model data flow. Your task is to explore each of these diagram types, identify their role and summarise the symbology that they use. The read what Lemmens (2005) wrote about UML and GIS.
Use Case Diagrams
[ URL ]
Source: Miller R, 2003. Use case diagrams, in Practical UML: A Hands-On Introduction for Developers. Borland Software Corporation. <http://dn.codegear.com/article/31863#use-case-diagram> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.

Class Diagrams
[ URL ]

Source: Miller R, 2003. Class diagrams, in Practical UML: A Hands-On Introduction for Developers. Borland Software Corporation. <http://dn.codegear.com/article/31863#activity-diagrams> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.
Activity Diagrams
[ URL ]
Source: Miller R, 2003. Activity diagrams, in Practical UML: A Hands-On Introduction for Developers. Borland Software Corporation. <http://dn.codegear.com/article/31863#activity-diagrams> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.
UML and GIS
[ pdf ]
Source: Trodd N, 2005. Modified from Lemmens M, Unified Modelling Language, GIM International, October 2005.
Task UML allows the geospatial analyst to communicate to the IS/IT community. Most of the time, however, it is sufficient to work within our 'geospatial' domain. The majority of software applications provide their own modelling language and framework. Whilst you might want to explore Macro Modeler in Idrisi or Model Maker in Erdas Imagine at a later date your immediate objective is to develop competency in the use of ModelBuilder for the ArcGIS desktop. Achieve your task by listening to the training seminar and then using ModelBuilder to design schema and process data as part of the exercises in the Geoprocessing course in the Virtual Campus.
ModelBuilder
[ URL ]
Source: ESRI Virtual Campus Training Seminar, Geoprocessing Using ModelBuilder. <http://training.esri.com/acb2000/showdetl.cfm?DID=6&Product_ID=844> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.
Geoprocessing
[ URL ]
Source: ESRI Virtual Campus course, Geoprocessing with ArcGIS Desktop. <http://training.esri.com/acb2000/showdetl.cfm?DID=6&Product_ID=896> URL last accessed 21-02-2008.