The five component model of GIS is only an idea. It serves several purposes one of which is to emphasise that GIS is not simply a matter of technology nor of technology and data. Such views dominated GIS for some years and need to be resisted. Understanding GIS means understanding technology in an organisational setting - in an ecological sense, as a linked system of technology and organisation. We must also appreciate that behind technology and organisations are traditions of ideas, methods and culture which shape what we do. Of particular importance are the methods we use. These encapsulate the rationale of our actions and provide the linkage between different activities. And behind everything is the body of accumulated knowledge, skill and experience which users of GIS draw upon to give direction to their actions.

So far we have only scratched the surface and not surprisingly you will revisit many of the ideas as you expand your knowledge and practical skills. We know that many problems in healthcare, logistics, forestry, transportation, government or agriculture are geographical in nature. The spatial perspective helps us to frame problems, explore potential solutions and operationalise the decisions we make.