G.I.S. Implementation and Society

I found this article, Organizational context, social interpretation, and the implementation and consequences of geographic information systems, by Sahay and Robey, to be a fairly interesting read. I was first intrigued during the introductory sections of the paper when they discussed the theoretical foundations of Interpretations and Implementations (pg. 258). I was imagining the discussion pertaining to larger social and cultural groups, for example between Western and other cultures. Instead, the study focused on the implementation differences between counties, a much smaller scale difference. While now it seems logical, I wasn’t aware that there would have been such noticeable difference between two entities which I would have thought were homogeneous, especially in terms of implementing a new technology.

It would be interesting if the issues that the authors noticed at this scale (ex. Funding disparities between departments, lack of technical expertise and training) could also be ones that societies as a whole would face if they were examined at a societal level. For example, if a few educated individuals in a society possess the knowledge required for operating G.I.S., would that create conflict or have negative impacts on the progress of the society in general? If one has to pay for G.I.S. services, would that influence who uses the services and would certain groups get the proverbial short end of the stick? I think this would be an interesting avenue of research. I imagine this would be very difficult to study, however.


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