Geographical Information Systems, GIS, have developed
over the last 40 years or so and now make a substantial contribution to
the information society and knowledge economy. They began as a means,
a 'tool', for solving problems and their development has been driven by
advances in both computer technology and analytical geography. Is modern
GIS, however, more than a technology? Industry observers record a transition
from a product-oriented industry to one focused on delivering information
services and a persuasive argument can be made that GIS should be seen
as a field of study which impacts on and is affected by issues ranging
from interoperable IT to social behaviour and organisational dynamics.
In this topic we develop, through examination of case studies, a five
dimensional framework for the study of GIS. In no particular order, the
- organisational and societal context
- a body of knowledge and ideas
Using this framework we can start to assess where GIS has come from...
and postulate on where it might be heading!