The rapid growth in the number of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) available has led to a proliferation of system designs and has contributed to confusion amongst potential users of GIS. This paper discusses the links between conceptual data modeling by the user and the spatial representation available within GIS of differing designs. A typology of system designs is suggested based on considerations of topology, polygon handling and database architecture, and the data structures and database-management systems used by GIS are evaluated. It is concluded that such system designs constrain the functionality of GIS, and can be used as a guide to the suitability of a system for specific tasks.
- Data models
- Data processing
- Data structures
- Geographic Information Systems