Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

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Essay Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

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Discusses the method used to unify human and physical geography and utilize space more effectively and humanistically. Examines technology, applications and how it compares to traditional geography.

Geographical Information Systems is probably the most important and influential methodological development to have occurred in geography in the past two decades, helping to unify human and physical geography and allowing geographers to map space in ways more sophisticated and more complex than dreamed of before. And yet GIS is not without its critics, who argue that it glorifies technology over theory, reducing geography to a “gee whiz” level of description that – while visually engaging — provides no substantive analysis. This paper defines GIS, looks at its limitations as well as its strengths, and seeks to predict what the future of GIS may be.

While a definition of what constitutes GIS is central to discussing its role within geography, such a definition is in fact difficult to produce since the term is used so variably by …