GEOG 468
GIS Analysis and Design

Lesson 7: Foundations of Geospatial System Development


As an introduction, this lesson includes the history and key concepts of the systems framework approach. A spatial system can be a method or an algorithm which fits with the definition of components which are connected together. A spatial system is also a framework, be it people, software, and/or hardware, of integrated entities performing spatial tasks. When you put the word information in front of system, the term information system refers to a system of people, data records and activities that process the data and information in an organization, and it includes the organization's manual and automated processes. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a spatial system for capturing, storing, analyzing, managing and presenting data which are spatially referenced to the Earth. In the strictest sense, it is any information system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing, and displaying geographically referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data and maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying the geographic concepts, applications and systems taught in degree and GIS Certificate programs at many universities.

Lesson Learning Objectives:

  • Describe what constitutes a system.
  • Describe who the key stakeholders of the system are.
  • Describe the principles for systems development.
  • Describe how to categorize the major problems, opportunities, and directives when undertaking a systems development project.
  • Define the major phases of a development effort.
  • Describe the major development processes of geospatial systems analysis and design.


If you have any questions now or at any point during this lesson, please feel free to post them to the Threaded Discussion Forum. (That discussion forum can be accessed at any time by clicking on the Communicate tab, above, and then scrolling down to the Discussion Forums section.)