Method has been identified as a key component in the application of geographical information. One reason why we consider method of great importance is that the purchase and implementation of a GIS is usually a business decision that has to be justified in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Whilst many make the case for this investment on the grounds of more efficient data management it is primarily through spatial analysis that an organisation improves its' effectiveness - by solving problems and making better decisions. If we then consider how data visualisations can be a powerful feature when making decisions and note that GIS software vendors have invested heavily in visualisation functions then it is apparent that these are methods that the GI professional needs to master.

Method is not simple and much effort is spent on the design of good methods. Method in GIS revolves around four issues:

      • the process of spatial data modelling,
      • procedures for storing spatial data
      • media for visualising spatial data, and
      • the application of techniques for spatial query and analysis