G.I.S: A Tool or Science?

The question of whether or not G.I.S. is a science or tool is brought up in Wright, Goodchild, and Proctor’s paper. Through the examination of an online discussion board, they come to the conclusion that G.I.S. can be placed on a continuum ranging from G.I.S as a tool, G.I.S as a toolmaker, and G.I.S as a science.

The question of G.I.S. as a tool or science is an important one that should be addressed. While many years have passed since the writing of this paper, I feel it is necessary that the discussion be continued since, as the authors argue, “science” often is synonymous with academic legitimacy. Looking at the amount of G.I.S journals and institutions with G.I.S programs it is evident that G.I.S is being viewed increasingly as a science. The proliferation of G.I.S technologies (such as Google Maps) that are used by the public (most of whom don’t have a strong grasp of the underlying concepts used) is a good reason for the continuing debate between describing G.I.S as a tool or science or something in between. Perhaps depending on how, and for what purpose the G.I.S is being used, people might have different perceptions of its role as either a tool or a science. For a driver using it to get from point A to B it might just be a tool, while for an academic researcher it could be a science. I would tend to agree that it is closer to the science end of the spectrum.



Comments are closed.