Geography is the "G" in GIS and we can trace GIS back to classical geographical problems that have motivated scientists for more than three centuries. Von Thünen's models to describe the land use practices radiating out from a central market location are still important in spatial studies where transportation costs have an influence over decisions on land use. Dr. Snow is widely regarded as the father of modern epidemiology, and Ian McHarg's overlay method developed in landscape ecology has become a standard operation in GIS software. All of these scientists used spatial thinking to solve a problem and we can learn many lessons from their efforts.

In a more general sense we observe that geospatial thinkers - and practitioners, those wanting to operationalise their thoughts and take action - are concerned with the influence of multiple factors that all converge on a particular space. In this sense, location is the unit of integration and given the number of factors involved it is not surprising that every location is unique. The geospatial analyst tries to tease out the different effects to better understand the problem - all the time working with inherent conceptual and mathematical constraints in the recording and handling of digital geospatial data.