Geographic information science (GISci) addresses the fundamental issues underlying geographic information systems (GIS) and their use to advance scientific understanding. The following sections explore this definition in greater detail, discuss the history of the idea, present some of the research agendas that have been devised for the field, and ask whether it is possible to identify consistent and universal properties of geographic information that can guide the design of systems.

GIS are powerful tools, and their effective use requires an understanding of numerous basic principles. For example, any application of GIS implies the adoption of some strategy with respect to scale, since it is impossible for a GIS database to contain all of the geographic detail found in the real world. Scale is only one of ...

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