The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced that it has published a white paper, "What Is GIS: A Profession, Niche, or Tool?" that examines a long-running debate in the geospatial information industry: the very definition of a geographic information system (GIS). Whether it is defined as a separate profession, a niche technology included within the broader arena of information technology, or a tool used across a wide array of professional disciplines, the question has raised strong opinions from a number of varied perspectives. The GITA paper further develops an issue that arose during a lengthy thread on GITA's GEOXchange list server. That conversation thread led organizers of GITA's Annual Conference 28 to devote a panel discussion to the subject during the event, held in Denver in March 2005.
Including viewpoints from individuals involved in both the online and conference discussions, the paper summarizes the positions of those who subscribe to at least one of the camps; in fact, as the paper illustrates, many participants in the discussions argued from two or even all three perspectives.
The white paper is available on GITA's Web site at http://www.gita.org/resources/what_is_gis.htm. A downloadable PDF version of the paper, suitable for printing, is available at the same location.
Source: GITA, June 10, 2005