The study of method revolves around the construction and use of models.
GIS databases do not present 'the truth'. Rather they present simplified,
partial, stylised and ultimately subjective representations of the truth.
In short, GIS systems create models of reality, and decisions taken based
upon GIS are thus taken upon models of reality, not reality itself. Furthermore,
any GIS analysis is based on that model - and thus has the strengths and
weaknesses associated with all forms of model building. GIS results are,
ultimately, only as good as the model(s) from which they derive.
Understanding the application of GIS stems from an understanding of the
fundamental methods of GISci. By adopting a formal approach to represent
the real world in a digital environment you strengthen all that follows.
In this section you have observed that a data model is specific to a purpose
and that once created in a database environment it can be populated with
data for any region and successfully serve that purpose. The database
can either be a set of individual files or designedand built using a [relational]
database management system. You understand that there are clear choices
to be made in the entity type of each feature and its' representation
as a raster or vector data model. You have identified strengths and weaknesses
of these data models and understand the consequences of choosing one entity
type or data model over another.
In the later part of your studies you examined techniques for spatial
query and analysis and can demonstrate some of the consequences of the
choice of entity type and data model. You have learned alot. Well done!