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Critical GIS : theorizing an emerging science Schuurman, Nadine Cato 2000

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C r i t i c a l GIS: theor iz ing an emerg ing s c i e n c e by Nad ine C a t o S c h u u r m a n B.Sc, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1985 M.A. The University of British Columbia, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY In THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Geography) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 2000 © Nadine Cato Schuurman, 2000 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of (Seo<jrapll^ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date \kUooo DE-6 (2/88) A b s t r a c t This research takes as its starting point the past decade of critiques from human geographers, and proposes an alternate model for appraisals of technology. The first section begins with an analysis of the bases and motivation of external assessments of GIS. A historiographical account reveals that the critical impulse among human geographers was not static, but evolved to incorporate greater subtlety based on cooperation with GIS scholars. Critiques from human geographers, nevertheless, had a profound impact on the discipline, and practitioners of GIS frequently felt that their perspectives on issues including the roots of GIS, its epistemological bases, and its ethics had been undervalued by critics. A re-analysis of critiques, from the perspectives of GIS practitioners, investigates objections to critical accounts of the technology. The second half of the research builds upon existing critiques and responses to them, but asks the question, "is there a more constructive means to engage with technology, from a theoretical perspective?" Two contemporary research questions in GIS are investigated, as a means of establishing a preliminary methodology for critique that engages with GIS at a conceptual, as well as a technical level. Factors that have influenced the progress of automated generalization are examined in some detail. The argument is made that both social and digital parameters define the technology, and it is unproductive to focus on one at the expense of the other. The second research question concerns data models and the extent to which fields and objects are inevitable. The case is made that a web of historical and scientific justification has prevented researchers from seeking alternatives to the atomic and plenum views of space. Finally, an appeal is made for continued theoretical examination of the technology as part of an effort to develop geographic information science. Tab le of Con ten ts Abstract ii List of Tables jy List of Figures v Preface v/ Acknowledgements vii Dedication viii Chapter 1 Introduction: theorizing GIS inside and out 1 Chapter 2 Trouble in the Heartland: GIS and its critics in the 1990s 27 Chapter 3 Lessons in Constructing a Science: promises and pitfalls of GIS 64 Chapter 4 The production of theory in GIS: social and digital parameters of intelligent generalization 138 Chapter 5 "Functional Ontologies" and the justification of data models in GIS 188 Chapter 6 Conclusion: Lessons in unpacking a discipline 260 References 270 Appendix 1 Research Interview Log 293 Appendix 2 Research Interview Sample 295 in L is t of T a b l e s Table 4.1 C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f m o d e l a n d c a r t o g r a p h i c g e n e r a l i z a t i o n L is t of F igures Figure 3.1 Visibility analysis in vector GIS 96 Figure 3.2 Buffer zones 98 Figure 3.3 Line intersection 102 Figure 3.4 Floating point of intersection 104 Figure 3.5 Rounding the point of intersection 105 Figure 3.6 Multiple shifts 106 Figure 3.7 The Greene-Yao (1986) algorithm 107 Figure 4.1 The Douglas Peucker algorithm 149 Figure 4.2 The map as the tip of the iceberg 152 Figure 4.3 Three components of expert systems 160 Figure 4.4 Conceptual structure of an artificial neural net 164 Figure 4.5 Objects: geographic entities without containers 174 Figure 4.6 Transportation route data organized in an object-oriented hierarchy 174 Figure 4.7 A cross-section of AGENT 178 Figure 5.1 Basic vector data representation 191 Figure 5.2 Explicit vector topology 193 Figure 5.3 The raster view of the earth 195 Figure 5.4 Field and object data models 197 Figure 5.5 Fields and objects, rasters and vectors: a clarification .... 199 Figure 5.6 Image schema as a vehicle for understanding 208 Figure 5.7 The set B of all good agricultural land contains the set A of land planted with corn 216 Figure 5.8 The dual theory of geographic space 223 Figure 5.9 A range of ontological commitment 226 Figure 5.10 Generic object classification system 238 Figure 5.11 Layers of conceptualization 251 Figure 5.12 The 9-intersection model of Shariff, Egenhofer, and Mark 254 Preface This dissertation includes material that has been previously published, material that is in press, and material that has been accepted for publication. Ideas and text are included from an interview with Michael Goodchild that was published in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 1999, Volume 17: 1- 15. Chapter two, "Trouble in the Heartland," is in press at Progress in Human Geography, and chapter four, "The Production of Theory in GIS" has been accepted at Cartographica. VI A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s Hadrian wrote in his memoirs that, in times of great duress, he imagined himself as a small ship buffeted on the seas, riding the waves (Yourcenar, 1963). In moments of strain, during the completion of my doctorate, I cast back to Hadrian's metaphor. I have had many aids, however, during my Ph.D. More than anyone else, my supervisor, Geraldine Pratt, has assisted in steering my course. It is testimony to her excellence and grace, as a mentor, that her supervision has never been heavy-handed. Gerry's style of suggesting research avenues and opportunities (as well as shifts in tone) has always been subtle and, moreover, constructive. Gerry doesn't discipline; she guides. Gerry's supervision of my Ph.D. provides an ideal map of the supervisor-student relationship. Other members of my committee have provided invaluable guidance and insight. I would like to thank Brian Klinkenberg for his kindness and friendship, and for never letting me forget the innate complexity of GIS. Stacy Warren is the other pillar of the GIS cohort on my committee. Like Brian, Stacy provided a sense of perspective about the relationship of GIS to geography. Moreover, Stacy can always cut-up about academic affairs - the best respite. Trevor Barnes took great time to read, and really think about everything I wrote. Trevor taught me the value of critique, and I value his careful and trenchant analyses. I want to thank my niece, Isolde, and my nephew, Max, for reminding me of stories and animal and pathos; my sister, Hedda, for being my friend and relentless advocate; and my (virtual) brother, Peter, for his sage and generous explanations - especially of realism and empiricism. My grandmother, Ola Pawlowksa, is the best illustration I have of endurance and perseverance, and I am grateful for her example. My mother and father taught me (and Hedda) two invaluable lessons: (i) schuurmies never get bushed; and (ii) you can do anything. In an age of excuses, these are precious instructions, and I needed them. My friends and former colleagues at KARO Design, especially Ellen and Joff, provided me with just the right amount of perspective on the academy, as well as freelance work. Finally, I want to thank my partner, Jennifer Hyndman, for everything. Nadine Schuurman, February, 2000. For my little brother, Tristan, who loved Star Wars. "May the force be with you." Chapter One I n t r o d u c t i o n : t h e o r i z i n g G I S , i n s i d e a n d o u t s i d e There are two ways of wandering in the forest. You either wander trying several paths or you wander trying to understand how the forest is formed, why some paths are accessible and others are not. Umberto Eco Philosophizing in an empirical science is a sure sign of trouble Helen Couclelis T h e r o a d b e h i n d : G I S a n d i t s d i s c o n t e n t s I a m a s k e p t i c a l c y b o r g . I a m a b s o r b e d b y t h e m a c h i n e b u t m a i n t a i n a p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r t h e c o m p a n y o f t h o s e w h o d i s d a i n a l l t h i n g s e l e c t r o n i c . I a m at o n c e a p a r t i c i p a n t i n t h e e m p i r e o f c o d e a n d a s c h o l a r c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f i t s f o r m a t i o n . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n e m b o d i e s t h a t s p l i t . It r e c o g n i z e s t h e p r i o r i t i e s o f t h o s e i n v o l v e d i n b u i l d i n g g e o g r a p h i c i n f o r m a t i o n s y s t e m s ( G I S ) a n d t h e s c i e n c e t h a t u n d e r l i e s i t , as w e l l as t h e a r g u m e n t s o f t h o s e c r i t i c a l o f G I S . It n a v i g a t e s b e t w e e n t e c h n o p h i l e s a n d t h e i r n a y s a y e r s . B u t i t g o e s f u r t h e r . It a d d r e s s e s a n e e d , i d e n t i f i e d b u t n o t d e l i v e r e d b y s o c i a l t h e o r e t i c a l c r i t i c s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y , t o theorize G I S as a s c i e n c e . G I S i s a b u r g e o n i n g t e c h n o l o g y t h a t h a s h a d a n e n o r m o u s i m p a c t o n t h e d i s c i p l i n e o f g e o g r a p h y . T o date, e f f o r t s t o c o n c e p t u a l i z e t h e t e c h n o l o g y a n d p l a c e i t i n a m e a n i n g f u l c o n t e x t h a v e l a r g e l y b e e n d i v i d e d b e t w e e n r e c r i m i n a t o r y a n d l a u d a t o r y a c c o u n t s . G I S r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e b e e n s l o w t o a c k n o w l e d g e t h e s o c i a l a n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s a n d i m b r i c a t i o n s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . A n d t h e r e h a s b e e n a n i m p l i c i t a s s u m p t i o n o n t h e p a r t o f s o c i a l c r i t i c s t h a t 1 G I S r e q u i r e s c r i t i c a l t h i n k e r s , l i k e t h e m s e l v e s , t o p r o v i d e a n a d e q u a t e d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y ( L a k e , 1993; P i c k l e s , 1 9 9 7 ) . D e s p i t e a n e d u c a t i o n i n s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y , I b e g a n m y Ph.D. p r o g r a m p r e - d i s p o s e d t o w a r d c r i t i c s o f G I S . T h e y w e r e s p e a k i n g u p a g a i n s t c y b e r n e t i c d o m i n a n c e a n d t h a t s e e m e d a n r e a s o n a b l e e n d e a v o u r . I hadn't, i n f a c t , r e a d m u c h o f w h a t t h e y h a d t o s a y b u t w a s r e a d y t o j o i n i n t h e s t r u g g l e t o m a k e a n h o n e s t t e c h n o l o g y o u t o f G I S . B u t t h e s t r u g g l e t u r n e d o u t t o b e w i t h i n g e o g r a p h y . E a r l y d e b a t e s o v e r t h e v a l u e o f G I S r e h a s h e d f a m i l i a r i s s u e s a n d i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o f i n d a p l a c e o n b o t h s i d e s o f t h e i s s u e . D u r i n g m y r e s e a r c h , I s w u n g b a c k a n d f o r t h as I r e a d p e r s u a s i v e a c c o u n t s o n b o t h s i d e s o f t h e d i v i d e . W h e n i m m e r s e d i n p a p e r s d e s c r i b i n g t h e a l g o r i t h m i c b a s e s f o r c e r t a i n o p e r a t i o n s , t h e l o g i c w a s c l e a r a n d I w a s c o n v i n c e d n o t o n l y o f t h e a r g u m e n t s b u t o f t h e s i n c e r i t y o f s c h o l a r s i n t h e i r q u e s t f o r a n i m p r o v e d t e c h n o l o g y o f p r e d i c t i o n . B u t w h e n I r e t u r n e d t o S c i e n c e a n d T e c h n o l o g y S t u d i e s ( S T S ) a n d c r i t i q u e s o f G I S , t h e a r g u m e n t s w e r e e q u a l l y c o m p e l l i n g . T h e d i v i d e w a s e x a c e r b a t e d b y t h e t e n s i o n s b e t w e e n t h e G I S c o m m u n i t y a n d t h e g r o u p o f h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s t h a t h a d e m b a r k e d o n c r i t i q u e s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . T h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s w e r e p l a y e d o u t i n a n u m b e r o f j o u r n a l s d u r i n g t h e 1990s. C o n v e r s a t i o n s at c o n f e r e n c e s c o n f i r m e d t h a t s t r a i n s w i t h i n g e o g r a p h y w e r e n o t l i m i t e d t o t h e p r i n t e d p a g e . T h e s e d i s c i p l i n a r y t e n s i o n s p r o v i d e d m y i n i t i a l m o t i v a t i o n . I b e g a n t o r e a l i z e t h a t t h e p r o b l e m w a s n o t j u s t t h e i s s u e s a d d r e s s e d b y c r i t i c s b u t t h e m a n n e r i n w h i c h t h e y w e r e p r e s e n t e d a n d t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h t h e y w e r e ( o r w e r e n ' t ) c o n s i d e r e d a p p l i c a b l e t o t h e t e c h n o l o g y b y G I S s c h o l a r s . G I S h a d , a f t e r a l l , d e v e l o p e d i t s o w n t r a d i t i o n o f a s s e s s m e n t . P u b l i c a t i o n s o f G I S r e s e a r c h u s u a l l y b e g i n w i t h a n a n a l y s i s o f t h e o l d m e t h o d a n d f o l l o w e d w i t h s u g g e s t i o n s f o r a n e w a n d i m p r o v e d t e c h n i q u e - c r i t i q u e , i n e f f e c t . C l e a r l y 2 t h e r e w a s a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h i s t y p e o f c r i t i q u e a n d t h a t p u r s u e d b y h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s . T h e t r a d i t i o n o f c r i t i q u e f a v o u r e d b y G I S f o l l o w e d t h e P o p p e r i a n t r a d i t i o n i n w h i c h i n t e n d e d a s s u m p t i o n s a r e j u x t a p o s e d a g a i n s t t h e w o r k a c t u a l l y d o n e ( D e u t s c h , 1997; G r e g o r y , 1978; B l o o r , 1 9 7 6 ) . I n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e s o f G I S f o c u s e d o n t h e t e c h n i c a l w h i l e e x t e r n a l c r i t i q u e s , l a r g e l y f r o m h u m a n g e o g r a p h y , w e r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h e p i s t e m o l o g y a n d s o c i a l r e p e r c u s s i o n s . B u t t h e r e i s a f u r t h e r , m u c h m o r e s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e . I n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e s h a d a s t a k e i n t h e f u t u r e o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y w h i l e e x t e r n a l o n e s d i d not. T h i s r e a l i z a t i o n o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e i n s t a k e s b e t w e e n G I S s c h o l a r s a n d t h e i r c r i t i c s l e a d s t o p r e l i m i n a r y r e f l e c t i o n o n t h e r o l e o f f e m i n i s m i n c r i t i q u e . Love, feminism and GIS H a r a w a y ( 1 9 9 1 ) h a s d i s c u s s e d t h e u s e o f t a c t i c s b y s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s t o u n d e r m i n e s c i e n c e . S h e e x p r e s s e s " n e r v o u s n e s s " a b o u t a t t e m p t s b y s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n i s t s u s i n g " t h e a c i d t o o l s o f c r i t i c a l d i s c o u r s e i n t h e h u m a n s c i e n c e s " t o d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t s c i e n c e i s j u s t a n o t h e r t e x t , l i k e h i s t o r y , p r o d u c e d f o r t h e p o w e r a n d p r o f i t o f d o m i n a n t p l a y e r s . S h e s e e s t h e p r o b l e m as o n e o f r e l a t i n g l a n g u a g e a n d m a t e r i a l i t y : t h e f o r c e f i e l d i m a g e r y o f m o v e s i n t h e f u l l y t e x t u a l i z e d a n d c o d e d w o r l d i s t h e m a t r i x f o r m a n y a r g u m e n t s a b o u t s o c i a l l y n e g o t i a t e d r e a l i t y f o r t h e p o s t m o d e r n s u b j e c t . T h i s w o r l d - a s - c o d e i s , j u s t f o r s t a r t e r s , a h i g h - t e c h m i l i t a r y f i e l d , a k i n d o f a u t o m a t e d a c a d e m i c b a t t l e f i e l d , w h e r e b l i p s o f l i g h t c a l l e d p l a y e r s d i s i n t e g r a t e ( w h a t a m e t a p h o r ! ) e a c h o t h e r i n o r d e r t o s t a y i n t h e k n o w l e d g e a n d p o w e r g a m e ( 1 9 9 1 , 185). T h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f w h a t w e r e l a t e r c a l l e d t h e ' s c i e n c e w a r s ' b e a r s c l o s e r e s e m b l a n c e t o e a r l y n e g o t i a t i o n s i n g e o g r a p h y o v e r G I S . S e p a r a t e d i s c o u r s e s w e r e not, h o w e v e r , t h e c r u c i a l i m p e d i m e n t . B o t h p a r t i e s i n t h e s e i n i t i a l a l t e r c a t i o n s b e h a v e d , at t i m e s , as i f t h e y w e r e c r i t i q u i n g s o m e t h i n g v i e w e d as a n " e n e m y t h r e a t , " t h a t h a d n o i n t r i n s i c v a l u e , a n d t h a t r e q u i r e d t h e m o b i l i z a t i o n o f a l l 3 a v a i l a b l e f o r c e s t o d i s c r e d i t ( " k i l l " ) i t . G I S a d v o c a t e s a n d c r i t i c s e a c h m a d e p r o n o u n c e m e n t s a b o u t e a c h o t h e r ' s ( d i f f e r e n t ) g e o g r a p h i e s , d i s p a r a g i n g m e t h o d o l o g i e s a n d m o t i v a t i o n s ( T a y l o r , 1990; O p e n s h a w , 1 9 9 1 ; P i c k l e s , 1 9 9 3 ; L a k e , 1 9 9 3 ) . I n s u l t s t h a t r e f e r r e d t o t h e " g a p s - y a w n i n g c h a s m s - i n G I S " ( L a k e , 1993, 4 0 5 ) o r ' " t r i v i a l p u r s u i t ' geography... a r e t u r n o f t h e v e r y w o r s t s o r t o f p o s i t i v i s m , a m o s t n a i v e e m p i r i c i s m " ( T a y l o r , 1 9 90, 2 1 2 ) w e r e m a t c h e d b y S t a n O p e n s h a w ' s d e f e n s e o f G I S a g a i n s t s l u r b y a n a f f r o n t o n : t h e t e c h n i c a l c r i p p l e s i n g e o g r a p h y [ w h o ] s e e m e d t o h a v e s u r v i v e d t h e i n c r e a s i n g u s e o f c o m p u t e r t e c h n o l o g y b y e s s e n t i a l l y i g n o r i n g m o s t c o m p u t e r - b a s e d d e v e l o p m e n t s . . . T h i s s u r v i v a l - b y - i g n o r i n g - c o m p u t e r s s t r a t e g y s e e m e d t o w o r k w e l l u n t i l t h e c o m p u t e r t e c h n o l o g i e s b e i n g i g n o r e d s t a r t e d t o b e l a b e l e d e x p l i c i t l y as ' g e o g r a p h i c a l . ' It m u s t b e h a r d t o b e a ' g e o g r a p h e r ' a n d a r g u e th a t c o m p u t e r t e c h n o l o g y u n i v e r s a l l y l a b e l e d ' g e o g r a p h i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n s y s t e m s ' h a s n o t h i n g w h a t s o e v e r t o d o w i t h g e o g r a p h y . . . ( 1 9 9 1 , 6 2 4 ) . C l e a r l y h a c k l e s w e r e r a i s e d o n b o t h s i d e s o f t h e d i s c i p l i n a r y d i v i d e . T h e s e c o m m e n t a r i e s w e r e n o t w r i t t e n as a n a t t e m p t t o m e d i a t e a n y r e a l o r p e r c e i v e d i n a d e q u a c i e s w i t h t h e t e c h n o l o g y o f G I S . T h e y w e r e i n s u l t s r a t h e r t h a n d i s c u s s i o n . T h e i r t a c t i c s w e r e s y m p t o m a t i c o f a n a n t i p a t h y t o o t h e r s t r i p e s o f g e o g r a p h y . E x t e r n a l c r i t i q u e t e n d s t o b e m o r e i n f l a m m a t o r y a n d l e s s c o n s t r u c t i v e t h a n i n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e , w h i c h i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a c o m m i t m e n t t o t h e s u b j e c t a r e a ( P r a t t , 1996, 2 5 4 ) . It i s e a s y , f o r i n s t a n c e , t o m i s c o n s t r u e P e t e r T a y l o r ' s p o s i t i o n i n g e o g r a p h y b a s e d o n h i s e a r l y c o n d e m n a t i o n s o f G I S ( T a y l o r , 1 9 9 0 ) . H i s c e n s u r e o f G I S w a s s o v i t r i o l i c t h a t o n e w o u l d g u e s s t h a t h e h a d n o t h i n g i n v e s t e d i n G I S , as a p u r s u i t w i t h i n t h e d i s c i p l i n e o f g e o g r a p h y . A n d s h a r p c e n s u r e w a s r e t u r n e d b y S t a n O p e n s h a w ( 1 9 9 1 ) t h o u g h , o n t h e w h o l e , t h e b a t t l e w a s t a k e n u p m o r e f e r v e n t l y b y h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s t h a n G I S e r s . T h e s e c o n d e m n a t i o n s w e r e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f s c h o l a r s u n i n t e r e s t e d i n t h i n k i n g " o u t s i d e t h e 4 binaries o f right or wrong , true or false" (Pratt, 1996, 254). They augured the tone o f ensuing crit iques. In both cases, the sub-discipl ine represented by the "other" was truly d ivorced f rom their o w n area o f research. Geography, as a d isc ip l ine , was d iv ided . Absent was "the l o v i n g care people might take to learn how to see fai thfully f rom another's point o f v i e w , " w h i c h D o n n a Haraway suggests as a "possible a l legory for feminist versions o f object ivi ty" (1991, 190, emphasis in or iginal) . It is this lack o f care that Pratt refers to i n her c a l l for constructive academic c r i t i c i sm, c r i t i c i sm that recognizes the int r ins ic value i n other posit ions. It is not incidental that a l l the major players i n this particular fo rmal ized sport o f denunciat ion were men. T h i s is not to exonerate w o m e n i n an essentialist manner but to draw attention to ways i n w h i c h feminist wr i t i ng f rom the same per iod argued for " l o v i n g care" as an essential component o f product ive c r i t i c i s m (Haraway, 1997b). Pratt 's careful analysis o f the dangers o f mean-spiri ted cri t ique is partly der ived f rom her experience o f "extensive, disrupt ive, personal ly pa in fu l " feminist debates "over difference" (Pratt, 1996, 254). W h a t she highlights is that w h i l e knowledge is embedded i n both practice and ideology, it begins " w i t h an act o f l o v e " (Haraway, 1997b, 126). Th i s was certainly a mis s ing ingredient i n contests over G I S i n the early 1990s. A m u c h more palatable approach is to reiterate James W a t s o n saying that "science se ldom proceeds i n the straightforward log ica l manner imagined by outsiders. Instead, its steps forward (and sometimes backward) are often very human events i n w h i c h personalit ies and cul tural traditions play major roles" (1969, i x ) . In contrast, assertions about "poverty and pol i t ics o f G I S " and the "dogged avoidance [by GISers] o f ep is temologica l debate and refusal to engage i n the intel lectual ferment that has 5 c h a r a c t e r i z e d c o n t e m p o r a r y h u m a n g e o g r a p h y " ( P i c k l e s , 1 9 9 7 b , 3 6 3 ) w e r e a n y t h i n g b u t c o n s t r u c t i v e . J a m e s W a t s o n i s d e d i c a t e d t o s c i e n c e , l o v e s i t i n f a c t . H i s b o o k o n t h e p r o c e s s e s t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e d o u b l e - h e l i x s t r u c t u r e o f D N A w e r e d i s c e r n e d f o l l o w s s c i e n t i s t s t h r o u g h t h e i r e v e r y d a y l i v e s . H e i s as a t t e n t i v e as B r u n o L a t o u r ( 1 9 8 7 ) t o t h e p o l i t i c s o f s c i e n t i f i c p u r s u i t . B r u n o L a t o u r ( 1 9 9 9 ) h a s r e c e n t l y w r i t t e n a b o u t h i s o w n l o v e o f s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y a n d t h e w a y s i n w h i c h i t i n f o r m s h i s w o r k i n S T S . L i k e w i s e , W a t s o n t e l l s h i s s t o r y w i t h o u t s u b t l y d e n i g r a t i n g t h e o b j e c t o f h i s r e s e a r c h . S o m e n a r r a t o r s h a v e f a r l e s s at s t a k e . N o t s u r p r i s i n g l y , s o m e o f t h e m o s t i n f o r m e d , a n d c a r e f u l c r i t i q u e s o f G I S a r e f r o m G I S s c h o l a r s t h e m s e l v e s ( R a p e r , 1999; V e r e g i n , 1 9 9 5 ; O b e r m e y e r , 1 9 9 5 ) , f o r t h e y m a i n t a i n e d a i n v e s t m e n t i n t h e o u t c o m e a n d , l i k e m o s t a c a d e m i c s , p r e s u m a b l y h a r b o u r a l o v e f o r t h e i r f i e l d . The w a y ahead : c o n s t r u c t i v e s c i e n c e s tud ies D e s p i t e t h e h o s t i l i t y u n l e a s h e d b y i n i t i a l c r i t i q u e s o f G I S , t h e i m p u l s e t o w a r d c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g t h e f i e l d w a s l e g i t i m a t e . It i s t h e j o b o f s c i e n t i s t s a n d s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s a l i k e t o m a k e s e n s e o f c h a n g e . T h e o r i z i n g i n v o l v e s , h o w e v e r , t w o r e l a t e d i m p u l s e s : ( i ) c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g t h e s c i e n c e o r t e c h n o l o g y i n t h e c o n t e x t o f b r o a d e r s o c i a l a n d t e c h n i c a l e v e n t s ; a n d ( i i ) i d e n t i f y i n g t h e a b s t r a c t p r i n c i p l e s t h a t g u i d e i t s i m p l e m e n t a t i o n . C r i t i c s o f G I S h a v e f o c u s e d o n t h e f o r m e r at t h e e x p e n s e o f t h e l a t t e r . A d m i t t e d l y , G I S s c h o l a r s h a v e p a i d l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n t h e i s s u e o f c o n c e p t u a l i z i n g t h e i r f i e l d i n a s o c i a l c o n t e x t a n d h a v e o n l y r e c e n t l y b e g u n t o a d d r e s s i t s t h e o r e t i c a l b a s e s . G I S i s a n e w s u b - d i s c i p l i n e , o n e t h a t u n i q u e l y s t r a d d l e s t e c h n o l o g y a n d g e o g r a p h i c a l t h e o r y . Its i n t r o d u c t i o n h a s b e e n f r a u g h t w i t h t e c h n i c a l c h a l l e n g e s . A s a r e s u l t , a s s e s s m e n t s o f i t s i m p a c t , a n d i n q u i r i e s i n t o i t s m e t a p h y s i c a l s t a t u s , h a v e b e e n s l o w t o a p p e a r . T h i s i s t y p i c a l o f n e w 6 t e c h n o l o g i e s . I n a p e r i o d o f r a p i d g r o w t h , t h o u g h t f u l a p p r a i s a l s a r e a l u x u r y ( O b e r m e y e r a n d P i n t o , 1 9 9 4 ) . H u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s s i m p l y b e a t s y s t e m s r e s e a r c h e r s t o a p u b l i c a i r i n g o f t h e s e i s s u e s . T h e f a l l - o u t f r o m t h e s e s o c i a l c r i t i q u e s has, p e r h a p s , d e a d e n e d t h e a p p e t i t e o f G I S e r s f o r s u s t a i n e d s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n . N o t o n l y h a v e s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s f a i l e d t o e n g a g e c o n s t r u c t i v e l y w i t h G I S , b u t G I S s c h o l a r s t h e m s e l v e s h a v e u n t i l r e c e n t l y s t e e r e d a w a y f r o m t h e o r e t i c a l a s s e s s m e n t s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . T h i s r e s e a r c h a t t e m p t s t o f i l l t h a t gap. I n t h e p r o c e s s , i t g r a p p l e s s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h f o u r d i s t i n c t t o p i c s , e a c h o f w h i c h r e l a t e s t o t h e " w o r l d i n g " o f G I S : (i) t h e r e p e r c u s s i o n s o f a d e c a d e o f c r i t i q u e ; ( i i ) r e - c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f i s s u e s r a i s e d b y c r i t i c s - i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y a n d i t s d e v e l o p e r s ; ( i i i ) t h e s o c i a l a n d d i g i t a l c o n s t r a i n t s o f c o m p u t e r t e c h n o l o g i e s ; a n d ( i v ) o n t o l o g i e s p r o d u c e d b y d a t a m o d e l s i n G I S . T h e s e f o u r a r e a s d e s c r i b e s p e c i f i c i s s u e s , a n d e a c h c o r r e s p o n d s t o a c h a p t e r i n t h e t h e s i s . C u m u l a t i v e l y , t h e y a c c e n t u a t e s e v e r a l o v e r - a r c h i n g t h e m e s tha t r u n t h r o u g h e a c h c h a p t e r : (i) t h e u s e s ( a n d a b u s e s ) o f S T S i n t h e o r i z i n g G I S ; ( i i ) t h e e n t w i n e m e n t o f t h e s o c i a l a n d t h e t e c h n i c a l ; ( i i i ) a n e t h n o g r a p h y o f t h e G I S " m a c h i n e " ; ( i v ) t h e f i s s u r e b e t w e e n t h e d e s c r i p t i v e a n d c o m p u t a t i o n a l r e a l m s ; a n d ( v ) t h e p h i l o s o p h y a n d m e t a - p h y s i c s o f G I S . W h i l e i n d i v i d u a l c h a p t e r s e a c h h a v e a s e p a r a t e c e n t r a l t o p i c , t h e s e m e t a - t h e m e s a r e c o n s t a n t s t h r o u g h o u t . I n v e s t i g a t i o n o f t h e s e f i v e m e t a i s s u e s a n i m a t e s a n d u n i f i e s t h e w o r k as a w h o l e . (i) The uses and abuses of STS in theorizing GIS A t t h e c o r e o f t h i s t h e s i s i s t h e q u e s t i o n o f w h e t h e r t h e r e i s a w a y t o u s e s o c i a l t h e o r y p r o d u c t i v e l y w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o G I S a n d , b y e x t e n s i o n , t o a n y t e c h n o l o g y . A d e c a d e o f c r i t i q u e h a s g o n e a l o n g w a y t o w a r d c o n v i n c i n g m a n y G I S r e s e a r c h e r s o t h e r w i s e . 7 I r o n i c a l l y , e a r l y c r i t i q u e s f a i l e d t o e n g a g e s i g n i f i c a n t l y w i t h a b u r g e o n i n g l i t e r a t u r e o n t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f s c i e n c e . I n s t e a d , t h e y f o c u s e d o n e p i s t e m o l o g y , e t h i c s a n d f u n d i n g s o u r c e s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h G I S - g e o g r a p h y ' s o w n b r a n d o f s c i e n c e s t u d i e s . C r i t i q u e s o f G I S h a v e , n e v e r t h e l e s s , b e e n a s s o c i a t e d w i t h S T S , a n d l a r g e r p u b l i c d e b a t e s o v e r t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y . F o r G I S r e s e a r c h e r s , as w e l l as p h y s i c a l g e o g r a p h e r s , t h e c o n t r o v e r s y o v e r t h e r o l e o f s c i e n c e i s s e e n , at best, as " m a k i n g t h e i m p l i c i t e x p l i c i t " ( G o o d c h i l d c i t e d b y W a r r e n , 1998, p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w ) a n d , at w o r s e , " a s a t h r e a t t o w e s t e r n c u l t u r e " ( G r o s s a n d L e v i t t , 1 9 9 4 ) . T h e a s s o c i a t i o n o f c r i t i q u e s o f G I S w i t h i n g e o g r a p h y w i t h S T S i s u n f o r t u n a t e . T h e h o s t i l i t y o f i n i t i a l c r i t i q u e s b e l i e s t h e s i g n i f i c a n t i n s i g h t s t h a t s o m e S T S s c h o l a r s h a v e m a d e w i t h r e g a r d t o t h e i n n e r w o r k i n g s o f b o t h s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y . T h e y h a v e , i n m a n y i n s t a n c e s , p r o v i d e d e v i d e n c e o f th e i m b r i c a t i o n o f th e s o c i a l w i t h t h e s c i e n t i f i c , a n d o f t h e t e c h n i c a l w i t h t h e s c i e n t i f i c ( P i c k e r i n g , 1 9 9 5; L a t o u r , 1 9 8 7; 1 9 8 8 ; R o u s e , 1996; P o r t e r , 1 9 9 5 ) . E v e n s k e p t i c s n o w a c k n o w l e d g e tha t s o m e s c i e n c e i s b e t t e r f u n d e d b e c a u s e o f p o l i t i c a l p r i o r i t i z a t i o n , a n d tha t w o m e n ' s h e a l t h , f o r i n s t a n c e , h a s b e e n u n d e r s t u d i e d i n c l i n i c a l t r i a l s . S T S d i d a g r e a t d e a l t o d i s p e l t h e m y t h o f a n n e u t r a l s c i e n c e r e v e a l e d i n c r e m e n t a l l y b y s a g e a n d b e n i g n g e n t l e m e n ( S h a p i n , 1996). I n s o m e i n s t a n c e s , h o w e v e r , S T S w a s o v e r t l y c r i t i c a l o f t h e w o r k a n d m o t i v a t i o n s o f s c i e n t i s t s a n d t e c h n o l o g i s t s . T h e r e s u l t w a s t h a t a n u m b e r o f s c i e n t i s t s e c h o p h y s i c i s t R i c h a r d F e y n m a n ' s j u d g e m e n t that: " p h i l o s o p h y o f s c i e n c e i s a b o u t as u s e f u l t o s c i e n t i s t s as o r n i t h o l o g y i s t o b i r d s " ( F e y n m a n , c i t e d b y K i t c h e r , 1998, 32). T h e r e a r e m a n y p e o p l e w h o b e l i e v e t h a t t h e e n t i r e f i e l d o f S c i e n c e S t u d i e s h a s g o n e a s t r a y ( K o e r t e g e , 1 998; G r o s s a n d L e v i t t , 1994; H a a c k , 1 9 9 6 ) . P h i l i p K i t c h e r ( 1 9 9 8 ) h a s 8 j o i n e d a n u m b e r o f c r i t i c s o f S T S i n a r g u i n g t h a t s t a p l e i d e a s o f S T S a r e p r a g m a t i c a l l y u n t e n a b l e a n d m a k e n o i n t u i t i v e s e n s e . H e c i t e s t h e e x a m p l e o f D a v i d B l o o r ' s p r o p o s i t i o n , f r o m t h e 1970s, tha t r e s e a r c h e r s i n S T S s h o u l d t r e a t t r u e a n d f a l s e b e l i e f s s y m m e t r i c a l l y , g i v i n g b o t h e q u a l m e r i t . B a s e d o n K i t c h e r ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f p r i n c i p l e o f s y m m e t r y , t h e p o s i t i v e j u d g e m e n t o f a r e a d e r o f t h i s t e x t w h o i s s t e e p e d i n G I S w o u l d b e t r e a t e d w i t h t h e s a m e r e g a r d as a n e g a t i v e j u d g e m e n t f r o m a l a y r e a d e r . O r at l e a s t , b o t h c l a i m s w o u l d m e r i t i n v e s t i g a t i o n . 1 B u t w h a t B l o o r ( 1 9 7 6 ) a r g u e d i s t h a t i f y o u d e c l a r e a f a l s e b e l i e f w r o n g f o r s o c i a l r e a s o n s t h e n , b y t h e s a m e t o k e n , a t r u e b e l i e f s h o u l d b e a t t r i b u t e d t o t h e s o c i a l . T h i s i s o n e i n s t a n c e o f t h e m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s t h a t h a v e p r o l i f e r a t e d b e t w e e n S T S a n d s e l f - d e c l a r e d d e f e n d e r s o f s c i e n c e . A s a r e s u l t , a n u m b e r o f s c i e n t i s t s h a v e i n t e r p r e t e d S T S c l a i m s as a n a t t e m p t t o u n d e r m i n e t h e v a l u e o f c u m u l a t i v e s c i e n t i f i c e x p e r t i s e ( G r o s s a n d L e v i t t , 1994; H u t h , 1998; S u l l i v a n , 1 9 9 8 ) . T h e v a l u e o f S T S i t s e l f h a s b e e n d i s c o u n t e d b y t h e v e r y p o p u l a t i o n t h a t i t m i g h t h a v e h a d a n i m p a c t o n - p r a c t i c i n g s c i e n t i s t s . T h i s i s n o t t o i m p l y t h a t t h e c h a l l e n g e s o f f e r e d t o s c i e n t i s t s b y S T S r e s e a r c h e r s a r e n ' t v a l u a b l e o r e v e n n e c e s s a r y i n t e r v e n t i o n s . R a t h e r , t h e i r l o g i c a n d p r e s e n t a t i o n h a v e h a d l i t t l e r e s o n a n c e a m o n g s c i e n t i s t s . T h o u g h p a l a t a b i l i t y i s n ' t a l w a y s a l e g i t i m a t e g o a l i n c r i t i q u e , i t d o e s i n c r e a s e s c h a n c e s o f r e c e p t i v i t y . T h e o b j e c t i v e i s k e e p t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n g o i n g , w h i l e c h a l l e n g i n g t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d a s s u m p t i o n s . C r i t i q u e t h a t a c k n o w l e d g e s t h e ' Bloor suggests an approach to studying science that is based on four tenets: (i) attention to causal factors that lead to scientific beliefs: (ii) impartial investigation of both true and false claims; (iii) symmetrical treatment of both true and false scientific claims; and (iv) reflexivity in studies of science. These tenets are identified as the basis of the "strong programme" for sociological studies of science (Bloor, 1976). 9 a i m s a n d c o n v e n t i o n s o f a d i s c i p l i n e m a y u l t i m a t e l y b e m o r e e f f e c t i v e t h a n o n e t h a t b e g i n s b y t e a r i n g d o w n c h e r i s h e d a s s u m p t i o n s . I n g e o g r a p h y , s u c h d e l i c a c y i s e v e n m o r e i m p o r t a n t as t h e c r i t i q u e i s i n t e r n a l a n d e m b e d d e d i n a h o s t o f e x t a n t d i s c i p l i n a r y p o l i t i c s . A n u m b e r o f G I S s c h o l a r s h a v e m a d e t h e p o i n t t h a t c r i t i q u e s f r o m h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s a r e s o s t e e p e d i n a s o c i o - t h e o r e t i c a l d i s c o u r s e t h a t t h e y a r e i m p e n e t r a b l e t o t h e u n i n i t i a t e d ( O p e n s h a w , 1 9 9 1 ; C l a r k e , 1998; P h o e n i x , 1998; p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w s ) . T h e q u e s t i o n e m e r g e s : f o r w h o m a r e c r i t i q u e s o f s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y i n t e n d e d ? C r i t i q u e s o f G I S h a v e b e e n d e l i v e r e d l a r g e l y t h r o u g h a v o c a b u l a r y c u l l e d f r o m p h i l o s o p h y a n d s o c i o l o g y . T h i s s u g g e s t s t h a t s o m e e f f o r t s t o e x a m i n e G I S t e c h n o l o g y a r e n o t i n t e n d e d f o r w o r k i n g r e s e a r c h e r s , b u t t h e a u d i e n c e o f h u m a n g e o g r a p h y o r s o c i o l o g y j o u r n a l s w h e r e t h e y a p p e a r . A s D a v i d D e m e r i t t q u i p p e d " [ i ] f h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s a r e r e a l l y s e r i o u s a b o u t c h a n g i n g t h e w a y tha t s c i e n c e i s s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d , t h e n t h e y m u s t f i n d s o m e w a y t o a d d r e s s p r a c t i c i n g s c i e n t i s t s " ( 1 9 9 6 ) . T h e q u e s t i s t o f i n d a constructive w a y to e n g a g e w i t h t e c h n o l o g y . T o b e c o n s t r u c t i v e , o n e g e n u i n e l y n e e d s t o c a r e a b o u t t h e o b j e c t o f i n q u i r y . G I S j o u r n a l s a r e r e p l e t e w i t h c r i t i q u e b u t t h e i r a i m i s t o b u i l d a b e t t e r G I S t e c h n o l o g y , a g o a l s h a r e d b y m o s t o f t h e i r r e a d e r s . O n e c o u l d a r g u e t h a t c r i t i c s f r o m h u m a n g e o g r a p h y m a y a l s o w a n t t o c o n s t r u c t a n i m p r o v e d G I S b u t w h a t c o u n t s as i m p r o v e m e n t v a r i e s d e p e n d i n g o n p e r s p e c t i v e . T h i s r e s e a r c h t a k e s as it s s t a r t i n g p o i n t a f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h t e c h n o l o g y a n d d i g i t a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , b u t t h e r e a r e o t h e r i n g r e d i e n t s i n t h e r e c i p e f o r c o n s t r u c t i v e e n g a g e m e n t . K i t c h e r i d e n t i f i e s t w o c l u s t e r s o f n o r m a l i z i n g a s s u m p t i o n s i n s c i e n c e a n d s c i e n c e s t u d i e s that, i f r e c o n c i l e d , m i g h t l e a d t o a a g r e e a b l e a n d p r o d u c t i v e S T S ( 1 9 9 3 ; 1 9 9 8 ) . T h e f i r s t i s a r e a l i s t - r a t i o n a l i s t set o f a s s u m p t i o n s a n d th e s e c o n d i s s o c i o - h i s t o r i c a l . T o g e t h e r t h e y 10 c o n s t r u c t a b r i d g e b e t w e e n r e a l i s t s c i e n t i s t s a n d s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i v i s t c r i t i c s . T h e r e a l i s t -r a t i o n a l i s t c o n s t e l l a t i o n o f a s s u m p t i o n s c a n b e d i s t i l l e d i n t o f i v e t e n e t s t h a t I h a v e ( s l i g h t l y ) m o d i f i e d : ( i ) s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h i s p r o g r e s s i v e a n d , o v e r t i m e , r e s u l t s i n i n c r e a s e d a b i l i t y t o p r e d i c t ; ( i i ) t h e p r o g r e s s i v e n a t u r e o f s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y a l l o w s s o m e n o n - r e l a t i v i s t i c c l a i m s t o b e m a d e a b o u t g e o g r a p h i c a l e n t i t i e s ; ( i i i ) s u c h c l a i m s r e m a i n , h o w e v e r , s u b j e c t t o l a t e r r e v i s i o n as t e c h n o - s c i e n t i f i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g i n c r e a s e s ; ( i v ) e m p i r i c a l e v i d e n c e i s t h e b a s i s o f p r e m i s e s ; a n d ( v ) t h r o u g h t i m e , w e l e a r n m o r e a b o u t t h e f i n d i n g s o f s c i e n c e but also about its social construction. A c c e p t a n c e o f t h i s r e a l i s t - r a t i o n a l i s t set o f a s s u m p t i o n s d o e s n ' t i m p l y t h a t one's v i e w s a r e u n a f f e c t e d b y h i s o r h e r p o s i t i o n , o n l y t h a t t h e i r p r e c i s e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i l l c o n t i n u e t o b e e l u c i d a t e d -t h r o u g h s u b s e q u e n t a t t e m p t s at f a l s i f i c a t i o n o f p r e s e n t a s s u m p t i o n s . T h e s e s u p p o s i t i o n s i m p l y a s o c i a l a n d p o l i t i c a l d i m e n s i o n t o t e c h n o l o g y a n d s c i e n c e . T h e y do, h o w e v e r , a s s e r t g r e a t e r c o n f i d e n c e i n s c i e n t i f i c e m p i r i c i s m a n d p r e d i c a t i o n t h a n m o s t S T S r e s e a r c h a l l o w s . T h e s o c i a l c o m p o n e n t i s e x p o u n d e d b y t h e f o u r s o c i o - h i s t o r i c a l a s s u m p t i o n s t h a t K i t c h e r a s k s u s t o r e c o g n i z e : (i) t e c h n o l o g y a n d s c i e n c e a r e d e v e l o p e d i n p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l c o n t e x t s b y i n d i v i d u a l s s u b j e c t t o c o g n i t i v e c o n s t r a i n t s ; ( i i ) e v e r y s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y w o r k e r i s i n f l u e n c e d b y p r e c o n c e p t i o n a n d b i a s ; ( i i i ) t h e i n f r a s t r u c t u r e t h a t s u p p o r t s s c i e n c e i n f l u e n c e s b o t h r e s e a r c h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t as w e l l as t h e i r r e c e p t i o n ; a n d ( i v ) t h e k i n d s o f p r o b l e m s a d d r e s s e d b y s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y a r e p r o d u c t s o f p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l a n d p o l i t i c a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s t h a t i n f l u e n c e q u e s t i o n s a n d , at t i m e s , t h e i r a n s w e r s . B y b a l a n c i n g a s s u m p t i o n s f r o m b o t h s c i e n c e a n d s c i e n c e s t u d i e s , K i t c h e r a d v o c a t e s a n e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l n e g o t i a t i o n b e t w e e n t h e t w o r e a l m s . E p i s t e m o l o g i c a l r e c o n c i l i a t i o n i s 11 b e s t a u g m e n t e d b y a d e p t h o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g a b o u t t h e s c i e n c e o r t e c h n o l o g y t h a t i s b e i n g i n v e s t i g a t e d . T h r o u g h o u t t h i s r e s e a r c h , I a t t e m p t t o f o c u s o n s t u d y a r e a s r e l e v a n t t o t h e t e c h n o l o g y . A t t h e s a m e t i m e , I a d d r e s s t h e e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l a n d o n t o l o g i c a l p r o b l e m s h i g h l i g h t e d b y c r i t i c s . I c o n s i d e r c u l t u r a l p a r a m e t e r s o f G I S d e v e l o p m e n t w h i l e r e t r e a t i n g f r o m t h e r e l a t i v i s m a s s o c i a t e d w i t h s o m e s c i e n c e s t u d i e s . T h i s a p p r o a c h i s a r e t u r n t o t h e a n t e c e d e n t s o f S T S w h i c h w a s i n i t i a l l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h " t h e s o c i a l , e c o n o m i c a n d p o l i t i c a l r o l e s o f s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y " ( S o k a l , 1998, 18). (ii) the entwinement of the social and the technical in GIS A c c e p t a n c e o f t h e r a t i o n a l i s t - r e a l i s t c l u s t e r g i v e s o n e g r e a t e r l i c e n s e t o e x p l o r e t h e i n t e r d i g i t i z a t i o n o f t h e s o c i a l a n d t h e t e c h n i c a l . It a n t i c i p a t e s t h e s o c i a l i n f l u e n c e s i n t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f G I S w h i l e r e c o g n i z i n g i t s r e l e v a n c e t o e m p i r i c a l m o d e l l i n g . T h e s o c i a l a n d d i g i t a l a r e n e g o t i a t e d i n a n y t e c h n o l o g y , b u t G I S i s a q u i n t e s s e n t i a l e x p r e s s i o n o f t h e i r c o n f l u e n c e . T h e v e h i c l e f o r t h i s i n t e r c o n n e c t e d n e s s i s t h e i n s t r u m e n t a l i s m u p o n w h i c h t h e t e c h n o l o g y i s b a s e d . L o n g b e f o r e G I S w a s o f f i c i a l l y c h r i s t e n e d , t h e t e c h n o l o g y w a s a p r a c t i c a l m e a n s o f u s i n g c o m p u t e r s t o c o n d u c t a n a l y s e s t h a t w e r e p a i n s t a k i n g t o d o m a n u a l l y ( R h i n d , 1 9 8 8 ) . C o m p u t e r p r o c e s s i n g a l l o w e d r e s e a r c h e r s t o q u i c k l y c a l c u l a t e t h e n u m b e r a n d l o c a t i o n o f c h u r c h e s w i t h g r a v e y a r d s a t t a c h e d , o r t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f a c e r t a i n p l a n t s p e c i e s . F r o m th e r e , i t w a s s h o r t w o r k t o start p r i n t i n g a n X , w i t h a l i n e p r i n t e r , t o m a r k t h e s p o t s t h a t t h e s e p h e n o m e n a w e r e f o u n d . L a t e r , m e a n s w e r e d e v i s e d t o e x t r a c t , t h r o u g h c o m p u t e r p r o c e s s i n g , p a t t e r n s o f s p a t i a l p h e n o m e n a , a n d t o p r e d i c t f u r t h e r i n s t a n c e s . T h e s e b e g i n n i n g s w e r e b a s e d o n a v e r y p r a g m a t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p t o c o m p u t i n g . C r i t e r i a f o r s u c c e s s w e r e b a s e d o n b e n d i n g t h e c o m p u t a t i o n a l t e c h n i q u e s t o a c c o m m o d a t e s p a t i a l 12 q u e s t i o n s ( i n i t i a l l y a c c o m p l i s h e d b y t h e u s e o f s p a t i a l m a t r i c e s ) a n d u s i n g l i n e p r i n t e r s t o r e p r e s e n t p o s i t i o n r a t h e r t h a n text. T h e s e a d a p t a t i o n s i n i t i a t e d a l o n g h i s t o r y o f p r a g m a t i s m t h a t p e r m e a t e s p r a c t i c e s i n G I S , f r o m d a t a c o l l e c t i o n a n d d i s s e m i n a t i o n t o s p a t i a l a n a l y s i s t o o u t p u t . E a c h o f t h e s e s t e p s i n v o l v e s m a n i p u l a t i n g s o c i a l a n d t e c h n i c a l p a r a m e t e r s u n t i l t h e r e q u i r e d p r o d u c t i s p r o d u c e d . E x p r e s s e d a l g o r i t h m i c a l l y , t h e r e c i p e w o u l d r e a d : c h a n g e a l l p a r a m e t e r s u n t i l s u c c e s s . T h i s d y n a m i c p r o c e s s e m b o d i e s w h a t A n d r e w P i c k e r i n g h a s c a l l e d t h e " m a n g l e o f p r a c t i c e " i n w h i c h s c i e n c e a n d t h e m e c h a n i s m s u s e d t o m e a s u r e o r c o n f i r m i t a r e m a n i p u l a t e d i n t a n d e m ( 1 9 9 5 ) . T h i s a c k n o w l e d g m e n t i n n o w a y d e t r a c t s f r o m t h e v a l u e o f G I S , b u t p o s i t i o n s i t as a l a t e t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y s c i e n c e . A n u m b e r o f S T S w r i t e r s h a v e o f f e r e d t h e i n s i g h t t h a t t h e s o c i a l a n d s c i e n t i f i c i n f o r m e a c h o t h e r ( R o u s e , 1 9 9 6 ; L a t o u r , 1988; 1987; 1993; P o r t e r , 1995; L y n c h a n d W o o l g a r , 1 9 9 0 ) . M y q u e s t i o n i s h o w t o m a k e S T S r e l e v a n t t o r e s e a r c h e r s i n t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e d i s c i p l i n e s ; t o r e n d e r i t s i n s i g h t s as a c o n s t r u c t i v e i n t e r v e n t i o n . W i t h r e s p e c t t o G I S , t h i s i n v o l v e s t h e o r i z i n g t h e t e c h n o l o g y as a m e a n s o f i m p r o v i n g i t s f u n c t i o n a l i t y a n d r e l e v a n c e . T o t h i s e n d , I h a v e r e c o n c e p t u a l i z e d c u r r e n t t e c h n o l o g i c a l d i l e m m a s , s u c h as g e n e r a l i z a t i o n ( c h a p t e r f o u r ) a n d d i g i t a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s p a c e ( c h a p t e r f i v e ) . T h r o u g h a n a s s e s s m e n t o f p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h i n e a c h o f t h e s e areas, i t i s p o s s i b l e t o i d e n t i f y p o i n t s at w h i c h t h e s o c i a l i s i n j e c t e d i n t o t h e t e c h n o l o g y , o f t e n r e d i r e c t i n g i t as a r e s u l t . I d e n t i f y i n g t h e s e j u n c t u r e s p r o v i d e s a r o a d m a p w i t h w h i c h t o r e - e n g i n e e r , o r b e t t e r e n g i n e e r , t h e t e c h n o l o g y . It p r o v i d e s a p a r t i c u l a r l o c u s f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a n d / o r r e -d i r e c t i o n o f G I S r e s e a r c h . 13 A t t h e s a m e t i m e , I i l l u s t r a t w a y s i n w h i c h G I S s c h o l a r s s p e a k t o t h e i s s u e s c o n s i d e r e d s o c e n t r a l b y t h e i r c r i t i c s . U s i n g m a t e r i a l g l e a n e d f r o m t w e n t y - f i v e l e n g t h y p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w s w i t h b o t h G I S s c h o l a r s a n d c r i t i c s , I f o c u s o n t h e w a y s i n w h i c h G I S r e s e a r c h e r s a d d r e s s a n u m b e r o f s o c i o - t h e o r e t i c a l c o n c e r n s . T h i s s t r a t e g y h a s t h e i n t e r e s t i n g r e s u l t o f e n c o u r a g i n g G I S s c h o l a r s t o c o n t r i b u t e t o a n a n a l y s i s o f t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e i r o w n f i e l d , b y p a y i n g a t t e n t i o n t o a r e a s o f p o s s i b l e i n t e r v e n t i o n a n d c h a n g e . I n t e r v i e w e e s e x p l a i n e d t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p s b e t w e e n r e s e a r c h d i r e c t i o n s i n g e n e r a l i z a t i o n a n d h i s t o r i c a l p r e c e d e n t , a n d b e t w e e n c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n s o f s p a c e a n d a v a i l a b l e t e c h n o l o g y , a m o n g o t h e r t h i n g s . B y p u r s u i n g t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e s o c i a l a n d t h e d i g i t a l i n e m p i r i c a l t e r m s , i t b e c o m e s c l e a r t h a t r e s e a r c h e r s i n G I S a r e ( i ) w e l l - a w a r e o f t h e a s s o c i a t i o n s ; a n d ( i i ) i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r p r a c t i c a l r e s e a r c h . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n c r e a t e s a p r e c e d e n t b y t h e o r i z i n g G I S a n d i l l u s t r a t i n g u s e s o f s o c i a l d e - c o n s t r u c t i o n as a m e a n s o f i d e n t i f y i n g n e w r e s e a r c h d i r e c t i o n s . A f t e r a l l , i f a n a l g o r i t h m i c p r o b l e m i s e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l , t h e n i t s e x p o s i t i o n as s u c h i s t h e f i r s t s t e p t o w a r d a s o l u t i o n . ( i i i ) a n e t h n o g r a p h y o f t h e G I S " m a c h i n e " I n o r d e r t o e l u c i d a t e a s s o c i a t i o n s b e t w e e n s o c i a l a n d t e c h n i c a l c o m p o n e n t s o f a n y t e c h n o l o g y , y o u h a v e t o g e t t o k n o w t h e " m a c h i n e . " F a m i l i a r i z a t i o n w i t h t h e m a c h i n e m e a n s b e f r i e n d i n g i t , e s p e c i a l l y i f t h e m o t i v a t i o n b e h i n d t h e f r i e n d s h i p i s " t h e l o v i n g c a r e " r e f e r r e d t o b y D o n n a H a r a w a y i n h e r b e h e s t t o p a r t i c i p a n t s i n S c i e n c e S t u d i e s . W i t h o u t s u c h a p r e d i s p o s i t i o n , t h e m o t i v a t i o n f o r a c o n s t r u c t i v e g e n e a l o g y o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y i s a b s e n t . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n i s a f r i e n d l y a t t e m p t t o p r y o f f t h e l i d f r o m G I S a n d p e e r i n t o t h e c o n t e n t s . T h i s s t r a t e g y m i g h t b e e a s y t o i m p l e m e n t w h e n s t u d y i n g a 14 s h o r t w a v e r a d i o , b u t G I S c o n s i s t s o f a w i d e l y a s s o r t e d c o l l e c t i o n o f p r a c t i c e s a n d o f d i s p a r a t e h a r d w a r e a n d s o f t w a r e . A c o m p l e t e e t h n o g r a p h y i s w a r r a n t e d f o r e a c h i t e r a t i o n o f e a c h o f t h e c o m p o n e n t s o f G I S . C l e a r l y t h i s i s o u t s i d e t h e s c o p e o f t h e c u r r e n t r e s e a r c h . E t h n o g r a p h y , i n t h i s c o n t e x t , i s l i m i t e d t o i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f p r a c t i c e s t h a t g o v e r n p a r t i c u l a r a s p e c t s o f G I S o n w h i c h I h a v e c h o s e n t o f o c u s . P r a c t i c e s a r e w o v e n t o g e t h e r t h r o u g h c o d e as m u c h as b y c o n v e n t i o n , o r h a r d w a r e c o n f i g u r a t i o n s i n G I S . W h i l e o u t s i d e r s h a v e f o c u s e d o n t h e c o n v e n t i o n s t h a t s u p p o r t G I S , t h e c o d e i t s e l f h a s b e e n u n d e r t h e o r i z e d . Y e t c o d e i s t h e d e f i n i n g m a r k o f p o s t m o d e r n t e c h n o l o g i e s . It i s a p a s t i c h e o f p a s t a n d p r e s e n t m o d u l e s . T r a c e s o f p r o g r a m m i n g l i n g e r i n a p p l i c a t i o n s a n d a r e s e w n i n t o s u b s e q u e n t r e l e a s e s . C o d e m a y b e c o n c e p t u a l i z e d i n a l i n e a r f a s h i o n , at t h e f l o w c h a r t stage, b u t i t i s s e l d o m , i f e v e r , w r i t t e n i n a n o r d e r l y f a s h i o n . N e v e r t h e l e s s , c o d e i s t h e i n v i s i b l e b a c k b o n e o f a l l t h i n g s d i g i t a l . R u m o u r h a s i t t h a t w h e n B i l l G a t e s i s c o n s i d e r i n g a b u y - o u t o f a s t a r t - u p , h e a s k s t o s e e t h e c o d e . T h e s u c c e s s o f M i c r o s o f t m a y b e r e l a t e d t o h i s r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f c o d e . I f y o u d o n ' t see t h e c o d e , i t s s t r u c t u r e s a r e m o r e d i f f i c u l t t o d i s c e r n . It i s l i k e b e i n g d e a f , y o u c a n s e e t h a t s o m e t h i n g i s h a p p e n i n g b u t y o u c a n ' t h e a r i t . T h i s r e s e a r c h r e c o g n i z e s t h e e x i s t e n c e o f c o d e . It i s a t t u n e t o t h e t r i l l i o n s o f l i n e s o f c o d e t h a t c o n s t r u c t G I S , f r o m e n t i r e a p p l i c a t i o n s t o t i n y s t r i n g s c u t o u t f o r i l l u s t r a t i o n i n a c a d e m i c j o u r n a l s . W i t h o u t t h e v i t a l i t y o f c o d e , G I S w o u l d b e a n e m p t y h u l k o f h a r d w a r e . 2 Code refers to the millions of lines of progamming that comprise every application. All programming results in code and all software is built from code. An algorithm is an abstract reductionist approach to solving a computational problem. Code is the much messier implementation. 15 C o d e i s a g l u e , a f f i x i n g d a t a t o a n a l y s i s a n d a n a l y s i s t o c o m p o n e n t s , b u t i t i s a l s o a m o r a s s . T h e f o r m a l i z a t i o n p r o c e s s e s t h a t p r e c e d e c o d e ar e m i s l e a d i n g . F o r m a l i z a t i o n g i v e s t h e i l l u s i o n t h a t a n o r d e r l y u n i v e r s e i s p o s s i b l e , b u t c o d e b e t r a y s t h i s a p p e a r a n c e . C o d e i s " s o m e m i x o f m a t h e m a t i c s , s c u l p t i n g , s c r u p u l o u s a c c o u n t i n g a n d w i l y , i n g e n i o u s p l u m b i n g " ( U l l m a n , 1 9 9 9 ) . A s a n y f i r s t y e a r c o m p u t e r s c i e n c e s t u d e n t w i l l t e s t i f y , p r o g r a m m i n g i s a n a r c h i t e c t u r e o f w o r k - a r o u n d s ; i t r e d u c e s t h e p r o g r a m m e r t o i m p r o v i s a t i o n . T h e f i r s t r e a l i t y o f p r o g r a m m i n g i s t h a t s o m e c o n c e p t s a r e d i f f i c u l t - i f n o t i m p o s s i b l e - t o p r o g r a m . T h o s e p r o b l e m s ar e r e f e r r e d t o as " N P - c o m p l e t e . " C o m p u t e r s c i e n t i s t s a l s o r e f e r t o t h i s d i s j u n c t u r e as " i m p e d a n c e m i s m a t c h " ( W o r b o y s , 1 9 9 5 ) . I m p e d a n c e m i s m a t c h s i g n a l s h o w d i f f e r e n t t h e w o r l d s , s i g n i f i e d b y text , a r e f r o m c o d e ( s e e b e l o w ) . N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e m a j o r i t y o f i d e a s a n d c o n c e p t s can b e c o d e d , j u s t as m a n y i d e a s c a n b e d e s c r i b e d b y text. T h e p r a g m a t i s m t h a t i n f o r m s p r o b l e m - s o l v i n g at t h e p r o g r a m m i n g l e v e l r e m i n d s u s t h a t G I S , as t h e m a c h i n e , i s a p a s t i c h e o f c o d i n g s o l u t i o n s . C o d e i s a t w o - w a y street. Its c o n s t r u c t i o n i s i n f l u e n c e d b y a u t h o r s / p r o g r a m m e r s b u t a u t h o r s i n g e s t l i t t l e s t r i n g s o f c o d e . C y b o r g s ar e b o r n e v e r y m i n u t e . T h e r e i s a r e c u r s i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n w o r k i n g i n a c o m p u t a t i o n a l e n v i r o n m e n t a n d t h i n k i n g d i g i t a l l y . G e n e r a l i z a t i o n t h e o r y , f o r e x a m p l e , w a s s t y m i e d b y a h i s t o r y o f c a r t o g r a p h i c p r a c t i c e t h a t p r i v i l e g e d c a r t o g r a p h i c r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . R e c e n t l y , h o w e v e r , r e s e a r c h f o c u s h a s s h i f t e d t o t h e d a t a m o d e l l e v e l w h e r e e v e r y t h i n g i s d i g i t a l a n d g r a p h i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s o p t i o n a l . T h e r e s u l t s o f a n a l y s e s a r e n o t necessarily d i s p l a y e d , t h o u g h a g r a p h i c a l p r o d u c t i s u s u a l l y d e s i r a b l e . D a t a m o d e l s are, l i k e w i s e , l i m i t e d b y t h e p a r a m e t e r s o f t h e m a c h i n e 3 Generalization is the elimination of detail as scale decreases. 16 a n d c o d e , a n d t h e y a r e t h e b a s i s f o r g r a p h i c a l d i s p l a y s . T h e e t h n o g r a p h i c d i m e n s i o n o f t h i s r e s e a r c h n e c e s s a r i l y r e f e r s b o t h t o t h e m a c h i n e , t h e c o d e a n d t h e c y b o r g s t h a t p r o d u c e t h e m . I n t e r v i e w s w i t h G I S r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e e n r i c h e d e t h n o g r a p h i c i n s i g h t i n t o b o t h e n t i t i e s , a n d m y o w n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o c o m p u t e r s a n d G I S a p p l i c a t i o n s p e r m i t s i n s i g h t i n t o p a r a m e t e r s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . M y m e t h o d o l o g y c o n s i s t s o f t w o a p p r o a c h e s : i n t e r v i e w s w i t h G I S s c h o l a r s a n d t h e i r c r i t i c s ; a n d c a r e f u l s t u d y o f G I S f r o m a n a c a d e m i c a n d a p p l i e d p e r s p e c t i v e . T h e s e t w o r e s e a r c h m e t h o d o l o g i e s m a n i f e s t t h e m s e l v e s i n d i f f e r e n t s e c t i o n s o f t h e d i s s e r t a t i o n . I n t h e c h a p t e r s t w o a n d t h r e e , i n t e r v i e w s w i t h d e v e l o p e r s a l l o w m e t o d e s c r i b e a n d a n a l y z e s o c i o l o g i e s o f G I S r e s e a r c h . S u b s e q u e n t c h a p t e r s d r a w o n b o t h i n t e r v i e w s a n d a l g o r i t h m i c r e s e a r c h i n t o g e n e r a l i z a t i o n a n d d a t a m o d e l s . (iv) the infological and datalogical realms S e p a r a t i n g a l g o r i t h m s a n d c o d e f r o m t h e r e s t o f G I S i s a f a l s e d i v i d e ; a g r e a t e r g u l f e x i s t s b e t w e e n s y s t e m s o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . T h e r e i s a g a p o f t r a n s l a t a b i l i t y b e t w e e n t e x t a n d g r a p h i c s (i.e. f a m i l i a r ) s y s t e m s o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , b a s e d o n t h e a l p h a b e t a n d g r a p h i c s y m b o l s , o n o n e h a n d , a n d t h e w o r l d o f c o d e , o n t h e o t h e r . W e e x p e c t t h a t d i r e c t t r a n s l a t i o n i s p o s s i b l e b e t w e e n t h e t w o b u t t h i s i s a f a l s e a s s u m p t i o n . C o m p u t a t i o n i n t r o d u c e s n e w p a r a m e t e r s , p a r a m e t e r s t h a t w e a r e u n a c c u s t o m e d t o t h i n k i n g a b o u t w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o g e o g r a p h i c t h e o r y . A l l o f a s u d d e n t w o s y s t e m s o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n n e e d t o b e n e g o t i a t e d . T h e r e i s t h e f a m i l i a r s e m a n t i c s y s t e m w h i c h i s e x p r e s s e d t h r o u g h tex t , a n d d i a g r a m s a n d t h e n t h e r e i s t h e d i g i t a l m o d e l i n w h i c h i n f o r m a t i o n i s s t o r e d a n d a c c e s s e d i n s i d e t h e c o m p u t e r . M o v i n g b e t w e e n t h e s e t w o s y s t e m s i s a f o r m i d a b l e t a s k . U s e o f G I S d e m a n d e d t h a t g e o g r a p h e r s l e a r n h o w t o e x p r e s s c o n c e p t s a n d p r o c e s s e s i n a n e w s c h e m e , i n F o r t r a n i n i t i a l l y . M a r t i n F e u c h t w a n g e r a n d T o m P o i k e r ( 1 9 8 7 ) h a v e d i f f e r e n t i a t e d b e t w e e n t h e s e t w o r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l s y s t e m s , r e f e r r i n g t o t r a d i t i o n a l s e m a n t i c r e p r e s e n t a t i o n as i n f o l o g i c a l a n d d i g i t a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n as d a t a l o g i c a l . T r a d i t i o n a l t e x t - b a s e d s y s t e m s o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a n d e x p l a n a t i o n c o n s t i t u t e i n f o l o g i c a l t h i n k i n g . T h e s h i f t t o d i g i t a l e n c o d i n g o r datalogical r e p r e s e n t a t i o n c a n p r e s e n t a s t u m b l i n g b l o c k a n d i n t r o d u c e s t h e n e c e s s i t y o f t r a n s l a t i o n . T h e t e r m s s u g g e s t t h e d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n t h e s e t w o r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l s c h e m e s , a d i s t a n c e t h a t r e q u i r e s p e r p e t u a l n e g o t i a t i o n ( F e u c h t w a n g e r & P o i k e r , 1 9 8 7 ) . I n G I S , i n f o l o g i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n i n c l u d e s i n f o r m a t i o n s u c h as t h e d i m e n s i o n a l i t y o f o b j e c t s ( a r e t h e y 0, 1, 2 o r 3 d i m e n s i o n s ? ) ; t h e i r l e v e l o f c o n t i n u i t y ( a r e t h e y c o n t i n u o u s o r d i s c r e t i z e d ? ) ; t o p o l o g y ( a r e t h e r e s p a t i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , e s p e c i a l l y o f a d j a c e n c y a n d c o n n e c t i v i t y ? ) ; t a x o n o m y ( w h a t i s i t s p l a c e i n a h i e r a r c h y o f f e a t u r e s ? ) ; a n d g e o m e t r i c r e p r e s e n t a t i o n ( i s t h e d a t a m o d e l v e c t o r o r r a s t e r ) ( F e ^ h t w a n g e r & P o i k e r , 1 9 8 7 ; L o d w i c k a n d F e c h t w a n g e r , 1 9 8 5 ) . T h o u g h m a n y o f t h e i d e a s e x p r e s s e d i n i n f o l o g i c a l t e r m s a r e c o m p l e x , f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h t h i s m e t h o d o f e x p r e s s i o n r e n d e r s t h e m t r a n s p a r e n t ; t h e y m a k e a b s o l u t e s e n s e . I n f o l o g i c a l t h i n k i n g i s not, h o w e v e r , " n a t u r a l " b u t a m e t h o d o f a r t i c u l a t i o n t o w h i c h w e h a v e g r o w n a c c u s t o m e d . T r a n s l a t i o n i n t o t h e s e e m i n g l y u n w i e l d y r e a l m o f t h e d a t a l o g i c a l t e n d s t o r e i n f o r c e a s e n s e t h a t t h e d i g i t a l r e a l m i s f a r t h e r r e m o v e d f r o m h u m a n o r g a n i z a t i o n a l p r i n c i p l e s t h a n text. I w o u l d a r g u e , h o w e v e r , that b o t h a r e c o n s t r u c t e d c o m m u n i c a t i o n s w i t h d i f f e r e n t a r e a s o f f l e x i b i l i t y a n d r i g i d i t y . H u m a n s a r e s i m p l y m o r e e x p e r i e n c e d i n m a n i p u l a t i n g p h e n o m e n a l s t r u c t u r e s t h a n d a t a s t r u c t u r e s . D a t a l o g i c a l m o d e l l i n g i s t h e w a y t h a t i d e a s a r e t r a n s l a t e d i n t o s t r u c t u r e s w i t h w h i c h t h e c o m p u t e r c a n w o r k . F o r i n s t a n c e , G I S c o n c e p t u a l i z e s s p a c e as c o m p r i s i n g e i t h e r f i e l d s o r o b j e c t s , b u t as u s e r s w e i m p l e m e n t d a t a m o d e l s ( o f s p a c e ) u s i n g r e l a t i o n a l , n e t w o r k , o b j e c t a n d g r a p h s t r u c t u r e s . D a t a s t r u c t u r e s , i n t u r n , r e l y u p o n l o w e r l e v e l c o m p u t i n g s t r u c t u r e s i n c l u d i n g a r r a y s , l i s t s , s t a c k s a n d q u e u e s . T h e s e c o m p r i s e t h e b a s i c a r c h i t e c t u r e o f c o m p u t e r s , t h e p l a c e s w h e r e b i n a r y d a t a i s s t o r e d . T r a v e r s i n g t h i s a r c h i t e c t u r e r e q u i r e s c o n v e r s i n g i n c o d e , b u t a l s o u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e n a v i g a t i o n a l s p a c e o f d a t a as i t i s m o v e d a n d m a n i p u l a t e d i n t h e i n n e r r e a c h e s o f t h e m a c h i n e . T h e r e i s a p r e j u d i c e i n h u m a n g e o g r a p h y t o w a r d i n f o l o g i c a l s y s t e m s . T h e y a r e f a m i l i a r a n d seem t r a n s p a r e n t . B u t u l t i m a t e l y s y s t e m s o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n c a n ' t b e r a n k e d as b e t t e r o r w o r s e . A s D o n n a H a r a w a y ( 1 9 9 1 ) r e m i n d s us - b i n a r i e s c a n b e g o o d t o t h i n k w i t h . T h a t i s a n u n d e r s t a t e m e n t ; p o w e r f u l a n a l y i s i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e b i n a r y d a t a l o g i c a l l e v e l . F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e r e i s a l e a p i n f u n c t i o n a l i t y f r o m t h e b i n a r y i n f o l o g i c a l t o t h e b i n a r y d a t a l o g i c a l , w h e r e l s a n d Os are p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a c o m p l e x , b e a u t i f u l c h o r e o g r a p h y t h a t c o n s t r u c t s m e a n i n g s . C o m p u t i n g a l l o w s o n e to p r o c e s s d a t a sets o f g i g a n t i c p r o p o r t i o n a n d t h e r e b y b e g i n t o a s k q u e s t i o n s a b o u t s p a t i a l p a t t e r n s t h a t w e r e h i t h e r t o i m p o s s i b l e t o a d d r e s s . R e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n i n f o l o g i c a l a n d d a t a l o g i c a l r e a l m s l e a d s t o t h e q u e s t i o n : c a n t h a t w h i c h i s d e s c r i b e d t h r o u g h t e x t o r g r a p h i c s a l s o b e d e s c r i b e d u s i n g d i g i t a l s y s t e m s ? T h e a n s w e r d e p e n d s p a r t l y o n t h e l e v e l o f f i d e l i t y e x p e c t e d b y t h e d e s c r i p t i o n , b u t t h e i s s u e o f w h e t h e r a l l c o n c e p t s c a n b e e m b o d i e d i n t h e d i g i t a l r e a l m h a s 19 b e e n h o t l y c o n t e s t e d . M i c h a e l G o o d c h i l d a n s w e r s t h i s q u e s t i o n a f f i r m a t i v e l y ( 1 9 9 8 , p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w ) . O t h e r s d i f f e r ( P e n r o s e , 1 9 9 0 ) . A m o r e p r e s s i n g i s s u e r s t h e q u e s t i o n o f w h a t h a p p e n s t o s p a t i a l i n f o r m a t i o n i n t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n f r o m t h e i n f o l o g i c a l t o d a t a l o g i c a l . T h i s i s s u e i n v o l v e s b o t h e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l a n d o n t o l o g i c a l d i m e n s i o n s o f G I S . (v) philosophy and meta-physics in the discussion of GIS O f t h e f i v e m e t a - t h e m e s u p o n w h i c h t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n i s f r a m e d , t h e p h i l o s o p h y a n d t h e m e t a p h y s i c s o f G I S i s m o s t s t r e s s e d b y h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s . E p i s t e m o l o g i e s o f G I S w e r e t h e f o c u s o f e a r l y c r i t i q u e s , w i t h m a n y h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s i d e n t i f y i n g p o s i t i v i s m as t h e s o u r c e o f i t s i l l s ( T a y l o r , 1990; L a k e , 1 9 9 3 ) . U n b e k n o w n s t t o t h e m , t h e G I S l i t e r a t u r e h a s t a k e n i t s o w n p h i l o s o p h i c a l t u r n o v e r t h e p a s t d e c a d e . C o n c e r n a b o u t t h e o n t o l o g i c a l r e n d e r i n g o f g e o g r a p h i c a l e n t i t i e s p r o v i d e d b y d a t a m o d e l s h a s l e d t o a m e t a p h y s i c a l a w a k e n i n g i n a s m a l l s e c t o r o f t h e G I S r e s e a r c h c o m m u n i t y ( C o u c l e l i s , 1992; M a r k , 19 9 3 ; F r a n k a n d R a u b a l , 1 9 9 8 ) . T h e s e d i s c u s s i o n s f o c u s o n c o g n i t i v e s c i e n c e a n d i t s a s s u m p t i o n s o f " e x p e r i e n t i a l r e a l i s m . " P h i l o s o p h i c a l f o r a y s h a v e b e e n c o n d u c t e d i n s i d e a n d o u t s i d e o f G I S , w i t h a n e m p h a s i s o n e p i s t e m o l o g y b y c r i t i c s a n d o n o n t o l o g i e s b y t h e G I S r e s e a r c h c o m m u n i t y . A n e x a m i n a t i o n o f b o t h a p p r o a c h e s i s c o n t a i n e d h e r e i n ( c h a p t e r s t w o a n d f i v e ) , b u t a b r o a d e r o b j e c t i v e o f t h i s r e s e a r c h i s t o i l l u s t r a t e t h a t i d e n t i f y i n g G I S as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f a p a r t i c u l a r e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l a p p r o a c h h a s h a d v e r y l i t t l e e f f e c t o n t h e t e c h n o l o g y , o r i t s i m p l e m e n t a t i o n . I n f a c t , t h e s e p h i l o s o p h i c a l a r g u m e n t s p o i n t m o r e t o i d e o l o g y a n d m e t h o d o l o g y . C r i t i c s h a v e b e e n i r k e d at a n i d e o l o g i c a l l e v e l b y t h e s e e m i n g l y t e c h n i c i s t a p p r o a c h o f G I S e r s t o g e o g r a p h y ( P i c k l e s , 1997, p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w ) . O n t o l o g i c a l d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h i n G I S h a v e m e a n w h i l e b e e n l i n k e d t o c o g n i t i v e r e s e a r c h b a s e d o n t h e 2 0 t e s t i n g o f h u m a n s u b j e c t s . I n b o t h i n s t a n c e s , e f f o r t s t o p o s i t i v e l y i d e n t i f y G I S ' e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l l i n e a g e h a v e m a d e f o r i n t e r e s t i n g a n d p r o d u c t i v e d i s c u s s i o n b u t h a s h a d l i t t l e i m p a c t o n G I S a n d i t s p r a c t i c e s . I a r g u e t h r o u g h o u t t h a t G I S i s n o t merely i n s t r u m e n t a l i s t , f o r t h a t w o u l d i m p l y t h a t i t e s c h e w s e x p l a n a t i o n , c a r i n g o n l y f o r p r e d i c t i o n ( D e u t s c h , 1 9 9 7 ) , b u t t h a t i t s d e v e l o p m e n t i s p r a g m a t i c . P r a g m a t i s m m a y b e m o t i v a t e d b y r e a l i s m , b u t t h e m i x o f c y b o r g , c o d e a n d m e t a l t h a t c o n s t i t u t e G I S f o r b i d s c l a i m t o u n a d u l t e r a t e d e p i s t e m o l o g y o r s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d o n t o l o g i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . I d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f G I S as a p r a g m a t i c e n d e a v o u r s e r v e s a f u r t h e r f u n c t i o n . It a l l o w s u s t o m o v e o u t o f t h a t u n h a p p y b i n a r y , a c h i e v e d b y c r i t i q u e s o f p o s i t i v i s m a s s o c i a t e d w i t h G I S . I f G I S w a s s h o w n to b e p o s i t i v i s t , i t w a s a s s u m e d tha t i t a u t o m a t i c a l l y h a r b o u r s s e v e r e l i m i t a t i o n s - b e c a u s e e v e r y o n e " k n o w s " tha t p o s i t i v i s m i s i n t e l l e c t u a l l y b a n k r u p t . P r a g m a t i s m e m p h a s i z e s c r i t i q u e f r o m w i t h i n , r a t h e r t h a n e x t e r n a l c r i t i q u e t h a t r e f e r s t o s o m e A r c h i m e d e a n s t a n d a r d . T h e b r o a d p r a g m a t i s m c l a i m e d b y G I S p r a c t i o n e r s r e p l a c e s o u t s i d e m e a s u r e s o f a d e q u a c y w i t h c r i t e r i a b a s e d o n s u c c e s s o r f a i l u r e . T h i s c o l l o q u i a l v e r s i o n o f p r a g m a t i s m i s , h o w e v e r , c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y a r t i c u l a t e d v e r s i o n s o f p r a g m a t i s m ( R o r t y , 1982; S i s m o n d o , 1 9 9 6 ) . B o t h a l l o w e t h i c a l i s s u e s t o b e r e f r a m e d . F o c u s i s s h i f t e d f r o m p r o b l e m s w i t h d e f i n i t e s o l u t i o n s t o " p r o b l e m a t i c s i t u a t i o n s " w h i c h c a n b e r e s o l v e d t h r o u g h a n y n u m b e r o f c r e a t i v e s t r a t e g i e s . P r a g m a t i s m t h u s i n t e r v e n e s t o s h i f t e m p h a s i s f r o m p h i l o s o p h i c a l p i g e o n - h o l i n g t o s o l v i n g p r o b l e m s w i t h i n t h e c o n t e x t i n w h i c h t h e y o c c u r . It a l l o w s f o r c r i t i q u e t o b e i n t e r n a l ( b y l o s i n g t h e o u t s i d e s t a n d a r d o f p h i l o s o p h i c a l s a n c t i o n ) a n d p r a c t i c a l l y m o t i v a t e d . A t t h e s a m e t i m e , p r a g m a t i s m c a n b e d i f f e r e n t i a t e d f r o m i n s t r u m e n t a l i s m b y i t s s u p p o r t f o r m o r a l r e f l e c t i o n ( G r e g o r y , 1 9 9 4 b ) . 21 T h e r e a l i s m t h a t i n s p i r e s m a n y G I S s c h o l a r s i s n o t j e o p a r d i z e d b y a d m i t t i n g t o a p r a g m a t i c G I S . B u t c o n s e n t i n g t o p r a g m a t i s m , i r o n i c a l l y , a l l o w s a t e n t a t i v e c o n c o r d b e t w e e n p o s t m o d e r n i s m a n d r e a l i s m . P r a g m a t i s m p r o v i d e s a n " u n e n f o r c e d a g r e e m e n t " a b o u t h o w to p r o c e e d as a n a l t e r n a t i v e t o a b i d i n g b y a r i g i d s c i e n t i f i c m e t h o d ( R o r t y , 1 9 8 2 ) . A d m i s s i o n t o p r a g m a t i s m i s a w a y o f c r e a t i n g a n o v e r t u r e b e t w e e n c r i t i c s a n d s c h o l a r s o f G I S . T h i s i s n o t t o b e l i t t l e p h i l o s o p h i c a l c o n c e r n s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h G I S . A s I ar g u e , a n i n c i p i e n t m e t a - p h y s i c a l c o n s c i e n c e h a s h a d l i t t l e e f f e c t o n i t s p r a c t i c e s b u t p r a g m a t i s m m a y s e r v e as a n a l t e r n a t i v e a v e n u e f o r i n v e s t i g a t i n g p r a c t i c e . P r a g m a t i s m a c t s as a b r i d g e b e t w e e n w e a k o r m o d e s t r e a l i s m ( S i s m o d o , 1996; B a s s e t t , 1 9 9 9 ) , o n o n e h a n d , a n d p o s t m o d e r n a n d p o s t s t r u c t u r a l a n a l y s e s o f t e c h n o l o g y , o n t h e o t h e r . P r a g m a t i s m i s a p h i l o s o p h i c a l e n v o y . T o p o l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s b e t w e e n c h a p t e r s a n d t h e i r c o n t e n t s W h i l e t h e f i v e m e t a - t h e m e s d i s c u s s e d a r e e m b o d i e d t o a d i f f e r e n t e x t e n t i n e a c h o f t h e f o u r s u b s e q u e n t c h a p t e r s , e a c h c h a p t e r d e a l s , i n t u r n , w i t h v e r y s p e c i f i c i s s u e s r e l a t i n g t o t h e t h e o r i z a t i o n o f G I S . C h a p t e r t w o t r a c e s t h e t e n s i o n s b e t w e e n c r i t i c s o f G I S f r o m h u m a n g e o g r a p h y a n d t h e i r c o u n t e r p a r t s . T h e s t a t e d p r i o r i t i e s a n d m e t h o d s o f t h e c r i t i c s a r e a s s e s s e d i n t h e c o n t e x t o f a c o n s t r u c t i v e a p p r o a c h t o G I S . T h e o p e n i n g c h a p t e r i s t h u s a r e v i e w o f t h e o r i z i n g o f t h e f i e l d , b y c r i t i c s o f G I S , c o u p l e d w i t h a n a n a l y s i s o f w h a t t h e y o m i t t e d . It t r a c e s p e r c e i v e d i n a d e q u a c i e s o f G I S f r o m t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s , w h i l e o f f e r i n g a n a l y s i s o f w h y t h o s e o v e r t u r e s h a v e b e e n p o o r l y r e c e i v e d i n t h e G I S c o m m u n i t y . T h e s e c r i t i q u e s a r e b y n o m e a n s s t a t i c , h o w e v e r , a n d I h a v e b e e n at p a i n s t o i l l u s t r a t e t h a t m a n y c r i t i c s w e r e d r a w n i n t o t h e G I S a g e n d a o v e r t h e c o u r s e o f t h e d e c a d e . E q u a l l y , a f e w G I S 22 s c h o l a r s w e r e c o n v i n c e d b y t h e c a l l s o f c r i t i c s . A n e x c h a n g e o f s o r t s h a s o c c u r r e d , o n e that b o d e s w e l l f o r r e d r a w i n g t h e f a c t i o n a l i z a t i o n w i t h i n t h e d i s c i p l i n e . E x c h a n g e s b e t w e e n c r i t i c s a n d G I S r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e not, h o w e v e r , d o n e a n y t h i n g t o a m e l i o r a t e t h e g a p b e t w e e n d i s c o u r s e s t h a t s e p a r a t e t h e t w o g r o u p s . I a r g u e t h a t c r i t i c s h a v e b e e n b o t h i l l - i n f o r m e d a b o u t t h e i n n e r w o r k i n g s o f G I S , a n d r e m i s s i n c l o t h i n g t h e i r c r i t i c i s m i n t h e v o c a b u l a r y o f s o c i a l t h e o r y . T h e i r c h o i c e o f l a n g u a g e s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e s e c r i t i q u e s m a y b e i n t e n d e d f o r a n a u d i e n c e o f l i k e - m i n d e d s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s , r a t h e r t h a n G I S r e s e a r c h e r s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , e n s u i n g c h a p t e r s e n g a g e w i t h m a n y o f t h e i s s u e s r a i s e d b y c r i t i c s . T h e y a r e a " c o n s t i t u t i v e o u t s i d e , " h a v i n g i n t r o d u c e d i s s u e s t h a t p r o v i d e a b a s i s f o r f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s o f G I S a n d a s t a n d a r d b y w h i c h t o j u d g e i n i t i a l a t t e m p t s . I n c h a p t e r t h r e e , I t a k e u p t h e i s s u e s r a i s e d b y c r i t i c s o f G I S a n d s c i e n c e a n d e x p l o r e t h e m i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . T h e r o o t s o f G I S , t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h i t i s s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d , e p i s t e m o l o g i e s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i t s use, a n d th e e t h i c s o f i m p l e m e n t a t i o n e a c h b e a r i n v e s t i g a t i o n . T h e s e i s s u e s a r e d i s c u s s e d u s i n g i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l f r o m G I S r e s e a r c h e r s as w e l l as k n o w l e d g e o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . M a n y o f t h e q u e s t i o n s r a i s e d b y c r i t i c s w e r e , a n d r e m a i n , p o l i t i c a l l y s e n s i t i v e , a n d I a m a t t e n t i v e t o t h e m o t i v a t i o n as w e l l as t h e c o n t e n t o f r e s p o n s e s f r o m G I S s c h o l a r s t o t h e s e m a t t e r s . T h i s c h a p t e r e x t e n d s t h e w o r k i n i t i a t e d b y c r i t i c s , b y i m b u i n g t h e i r a p p r a i s a l s w i t h a m a t e r i a l i t y . B y i n c o r p o r a t i n g a c r i t i c a l a p p r o a c h t o i n t e r v i e w m a t e r i a l f r o m G I S s c h o l a r s , as w e l l as a c c o u n t s o f p r a c t i c e i n G I S , m a n y o f t h e c r i t i q u e s a r e i n f u s e d w i t h g r e a t e r n u a n c e t h a n w a s e v i d e n t i n t h e i r i n i t i a l p r e s e n t i o n . I r o n i c a l l y , t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n s e r v e s t o r e i n f o r c e t h e s u s p i c i o n o f m a n y c r i t i c s t h a t G I S i s a n i n h e r e n t l y s o c i a l p r o c e s s . T h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h i s c l a i m a r e d i f f e r e n t l y i n t e r p r e t e d , h o w e v e r . F o l l o w i n g I a n H a c k i n g 23 ( 1 9 9 9 b ) , I s u g g e s t t h a t t h e m o t i v a t i o n b e h i n d t h e q u e s t i o n o f s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n i s f a r m o r e i m p o r t a n t t h a n t h e a n s w e r . I n t h e c a s e o f G I S s c h o l a r s , a d d r e s s i n g t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t e c h n o l o g y i m p l i e s d i s c e r n i n g h o w p o l i c y i s w r i t t e n i n t o a l g o r i t h m s , o r h o w e t h i c s a r e c o n s t i t u t e d i n a w i r e d w o r l d . It c o n s t i t u t e s a n a p p l i e d a n d c o n s t r u c t i v e a t t e m p t t o d e a l w i t h t h e i m p o r t a n t s o c i a l q u e s t i o n s t h a t w e r e i n t r o d u c e d b y h u m a n g e o g r a p h e r s . I n t h e s e c o n d p a r t o f t h e d i s s e r t a t i o n , I s h i f t f r o m a f o c u s o n p e r c e p t i o n s o f G I S t o d e a l e x c l u s i v e l y w i t h G I S , " t h e m a c h i n e . " I n C h a p t e r f o u r , I t r a c e t h e e v o l u t i o n o f g e n e r a l i z a t i o n t e c h n i q u e s t h r o u g h a s e r i e s o f s o c i a l a n d t e c h n o l o g i c a l i m p e d i m e n t s . T h e h i s t o r y o f g e n e r a l i z a t i o n i s f o l l o w e d f r o m i t s i n c e p t i o n as a m a t h e m a t i c a l t e c h n i q u e t o a n a g e n t - d e p l o y e d s u i t e o f o b j e c t - o r i e n t e d t o o l s . I n s t a n c e s w h e r e b o t h s o c i a l c o n t e x t a n d d i g i t a l c o n s t r a i n t s h a v e i n f l u e n c e d t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f g e n e r a l i z a t i o n a r e e x a m i n e d . T h r o u g h t h i s e t h n o g r a p h y o f a p a r t i c u l a r G I S p r a c t i c e - g e n e r a l i z a t i o n - t h e i n t e r p l a y b e t w e e n t h e s o c i a l a n d t h e d i g i t a l a r e c o n c r e t e l y i l l u s t r a t e d . A t t h e s a m e t i m e , t h e repercussions o f b o t h f r a m e w o r k s o f i n f l u e n c e b e c o m e v e r y c l e a r . B e i n g a b l e t o p o i n t t o s p e c i f i c i n s t a n c e s o f i n t e g r a t i o n b e t w e e n t h e s e t w o c o n t e x t s l e a d s t o a d e v e l o p m e n t o f a c o n c r e t e ( i f m e t a p h o r i c a l ) r o a d m a p o f t h e i n s t a n c e s w h e r e p h y s i c a l a n d s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s h a v e i n f l u e n c e d t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f G I S . T h i s e m p i r i c a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e o r i z i n g t h e s o c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t e c h n o l o g y h a s t w o b e n e f i t s : (i) i t a l l o w s t h e s u b s t a n t i a t i o n o f c r i t i c a l c l a i m s ; ( i i ) t h e a p p r o a c h s u g g e s t s m e c h a n i s m s f o r c h a n g e at t h e v e r y p o i n t s w h e r e t h e s e i n f l u e n c e s a r e i n s i n u a t e d . I n t h e f i f t h c h a p t e r , I e x p l o r e t h e c o m p u t a t i o n a l a n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l m e c h a n i s m s t h a t s t r u c t u r e g e o g r a p h i c a l d a t a . D i f f e r e n t d a t a m o d e l s r e f l e c t d i f f e r e n t w a y s o f s e e i n g t h e 24 w o r l d , b u t t h e y a l s o h a v e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l r e p e r c u s s i o n s . S t r u c t u r e d o n t o l o g i e s h a v e b e e n a s u b j e c t o f d i s c u s s i o n d u r i n g t h e p a s t d e c a d e as G I S s c h o l a r s b e g i n t o a p p r e c i a t e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l c h a l l e n g e s o f s p a t i a l e n t i t i e s a n d t h e i r p h i l o s o p h i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . B e c a u s e G I S c r o s s e s t h e t e r r a i n o f b o t h c o m p u t e r s c i e n c e a n d g e o g r a p h y , t h e s e d i s c u s s i o n s a r e c o m p l i c a t e d . T h e m e a n i n g s o f " o n t o l o g y " d i f f e r s , d e p e n d i n g o n t h e c o n t e x t i n w h i c h g e o g r a p h i c i n f o r m a t i o n i s b e i n g m o d e l l e d . A t t h e c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n s t a g e , o n t o l o g y r e f e r s t o a n u l t i m a t e a n d s t a b l e r e a l i t y . A s g e o g r a p h i c a l a n a l y s i s p r o c e d e s t o t h e f o r m a l i z a t i o n stage, o n t o l o g y i m p l i e s a f o r m a l s y s t e m i n w h i c h e v e r y e n t i t y i s p r e c i s e l y d e f i n e d , w i t h o u t r e f e r e n c e t o e x t e r n a l c o n t e x t . I n a d d i t i o n , e n t i t y r e l a t i o n s m u s t b e f o r m a l l y i n s c r i b e d . G e n e r a l l y , i n G I S , o n t o l o g i e s r e f e r t o t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l s t r a t e g i e s o f e x t a n t d a t a m o d e l s . C l e a r l y t h e r e i s a d e e p p h i l o s o p h i c a l g a p b e t w e e n t h e s e a p p r o a c h e s t o t h e o n t o l o g i e s o f g e o g r a p h i c o b j e c t s . D a t a m o d e l s ( a n d t h e i r o n t o l o g i c a l p r o d u c t s ) h a v e b e e n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d t h r o u g h a c a d e m i c c h a n n e l s o v e r t h e p a s t t e n y e a r s . I t r a c e t h e p r o c e s s w h e r e b y fields a n d objects a c q u i r e d a f o u n d a t i o n a l i s m b y f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n s o f d a t a m o d e l s f r o m h i s t o r i c a l r e f l e c t i o n s o n t h e i r o r i g i n s , t o c o g n i t i v e r e s e a r c h o n t h e i r i n t e g r i t y , a n d f i n a l l y , t o e x p l i c i t c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f t h e o n t o l o g i e s p r o d u c e d t h r o u g h u s e o f e a c h . I i l l u s t r a t e t h a t e x t a n t d a t a m o d e l s h a v e l i m i t e d t h e s c o p e o f t h e i r o w n i n v e s t i g a t i o n . A f o u n d a t i o n a l a p p r o a c h t o s p a c e h a s r e s u l t e d i n t h e f u r t h e r r e i f i c a t i o n o f f i e l d s a n d o b j e c t s , r a t h e r t h a n t h e i r d e c o n s t r u c t i o n . S e c o n d , I i l l u s t r a t e t h a t t h e r e i s a d e e p e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l d i v i d e b e t w e e n c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n a n d f o r m a l i z a t i o n b u t t h a t i t h a s l i t t l e e f f e c t o n r e s u l t i n g d a t a m o d e l s w h i c h are, u l t i m a t e l y , a p r o d u c t o f p r a g m a t i s m . I a r g u e that, i n t h e f i n a l a n a l y s i s , o n t o l o g i e s i n G I S a r e " f u n c t i o n a l " a n d c a n p o r t e n d t o l i t t l e m o r e . B y i m p l i c a t i o n , t h e k e y 25 t o a m o r e r a d i c a l , s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e G I S i s c e s s a t i o n o f t h e c u r r e n t q u e s t f o r f o u n d a t i o n a l o n t o l o g i e s - t o a c c e p t t h e m as f u n c t i o n a l . T h a t , i n t u r n , w i l l o p e n t h e d o o r t o i n v e s t i g a t i o n s o f t h e c o n t i n g e n c i e s t h a t h a v e l e d t o t h e status q u o . I n t h e c o n c l u s i o n , I r e v i e w t h i s i n i t i a l a t t e m p t t o t h e o r i z e G I S a n d e x a m i n e t h e p o t e n t i a l v a l u e o f s u c h a h y b r i d a p p r o a c h t o t e c h n o s c i e n c e . 4 I a r g u e t h a t a c c e p t a n c e o f p r a g m a t i s m i n t e c h n o l o g y a n d s c i e n c e p r o v i d e s a n a v e n u e f o r internal c r i t i q u e - o f w h i c h t h i s i s a n i n i t i a l f o r a y . T h e v a l u e o f s c i e n t i f i c a l l e g i a n c e a n d a t t e n d a n t c o m m i t m e n t t o c o n s t r u c t i v e c r i t i q u e a r e r e v i e w e d i n t h e c o n t e x t o f t h i s r e s e a r c h a n d G I S i n g e n e r a l . F i n a l l y , I e x p l o r e o t h e r a s p e c t s o f G I S t h a t l e n d t h e m s e l v e s t o a t h e o r e t i c a l e x a m i n a t i o n . I s p e c u l a t e o n w h a t t h o s e a t t e m p t s m i g h t l o o k l i k e , a n d h o w s u c h r e s e a r c h m a y b e n e f i t c u r r e n t a n d f u t u r e r e s e a c h e f f o r t s i n g e o g r a p h i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n s c i e n c e . T h e v a l u e o f t h i s a p p r o a c h l i e s i n i t s a b i l i t y t o e x c a v a t e k n o w l e d g e i n t h e i n t e r s t i c e s b e t w e e n d i s c i p l i n a r y n i c h e s . I n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e i s , h o w e v e r , d e p e n d e n t o n a c o n s t i t u t i v e o u t s i d e , a n e x t e r n a l p e r s p e c t i v e . T h i s p e r s p e c t i v e h a s b e e n p r o v i d e d t h r o u g h t h e w o r k o f c r i t i c s o f G I S . T h e y p r o v i d e d a b a s i s a g a i n s t w h i c h t o d e f i n e m y o w n s t u d y , b u t t h e y a l s o i n f o r m e d i t . T h u s , d e s p i t e h a v i n g b i l l e d t h i s r e s e a r c h as a n i n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e , i t i s t r u l y i n t r a - d i s c i p l i n a r y . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n b r i n g s t o g e t h e r p e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m t h e s c i e n c e s a n d s o c i a l s c i e n c e s , w i t h i n g e o g r a p h y , as t h e y r e l a t e t o G I S . I n d o i n g so, i t t r e p a s s e s i n t r a -d i s c i p l i n a r y b o u n d a r i e s . 4 The term technoscience was introduced by Latour (1987) as a way of acknowledging the relationship between science and technology. He also mentioned that it saves writing out "technology and science" each time (1987, 29). 26 Chapter Two Trouble in the heart land: GIS and i ts c r i t i c s in the 1990s. If we could bring ourselves to accept the fact that no theory about the nature of Man or Society or Rationality, or anything else, is going to synthesize Nietzsche with Marx or Heidegger with Habermas, we could begin to think of the relation between writers on autonomy and writers on justice as being like the relation between two kinds of tools - as little in need of synthesis as are paintbrushes and crowbars....Both are right, but there is no way to make both speak a single language. Richard Rorty It's funny how old (and tiresome?) debates in geography never die, they just find new battlefields. Judy Walton I n g e o g r a p h y , t h e m o s t g u a r d e d t e r r i t o r y i s n o t t h e e a r t h b u t d i s c i p l i n a r y m e t h o d o l o g i e s a n d , b y i m p l i c a t i o n , t h e l e n s e s t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e e a r t h i s v i e w e d . T h e i n t r o d u c t i o n o f G I S h a s d o n e n o t h i n g t o m i t i g a t e t h e s e d i v i s i o n s . W h e n h u m a n a n d c u l t u r a l g e o g r a p h e r s f i r s t t u r n e d t h e i r a t t e n t i o n t o G I S t h e y s p a r k e d d e b a t e b y d r a w i n g a t t e n t i o n t o p e r c e i v e d m e t h o d o l o g i c a l a n d e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l s h o r t c o m i n g s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y . S u b s e q u e n t d i s c u s s i o n s a b o u t t h e m e r i t s o f G I S h a v e p e r m e a t e d t h e c u l t u r e o f g e o g r a p h y . A s a r e s u l t , t h e y h a v e b e g u n t o s t a n d - i n f o r b r o a d e r d i s c i p l i n a r y d e b a t e s o v e r m e t h o d s a n d e p i s t e m o l o g y . G i v e n t h a t d i f f e r e n t p e o p l e p i c k e d u p t h e d e b a t e at v a r i o u s t i m e s , a n d o t h e r s h e a r d a b o u t i t s e c o n d o r t h i r d h a n d , i t i s w o r t h r e v i e w i n g t h e m p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e d e b a t e s a b o u t G I S h a v e h a d e f f e c t s o n t h e d i s c i p l i n e o f g e o g r a p h y as well as t h e w a y w e d o G I S . T h e h i s t o r y o f t h e s e e x c h a n g e s i n f o r m s a n d s h a p e s t h e c u l t u r e o f o u r d i s c i p l i n e . I b e g i n a n a n a l y s e s o f t h e s e d e b a t e s b y d e l i n e a t i n g t h e b a t t l e l i n e s o f a b r o a d e r a r e n a - t h e s o - c a l l e d science wars. S o c i o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s o f s c i e n c e a n d t e c h n o l o g y p r e d a t e d i s c o r d a b o u t G I S , a n d t h o u g h p o s i t i o n s a l o n g s i m i l a r l i n e s a r e f o u n d i n d e b a t e s i n g e o g r a p h y , 27 d i s c u s s i o n s o v e r G I S a r e u n i q u e t o t h e d i s c i p l i n e . I h a v e o r g a n i z e d c r i t i q u e s a n d r e s p o n s e s f r o m G I S p r a c t i t i o n e r s i n t o t h r e e waves o r p e r i o d s , e a c h d i s t i n g u i s h e d b y s h i f t s i n s t r a t e g i e s a n d m o t i v a t i o n o n t h e p a r t o f c r i t i c s . T h e f i r s t w a v e , f r o m 1 9 9 0 t o 1994, w a s d i s t i n g u i s h e d b y t h e a n i m o s i t y o f d e b a t e . D e s p i t e o v e r t d i s c i p l i n a r y h o s t i l i t y , a n u m b e r o f G I S r e s e a r c h e r s d i d e n g a g e i n t h e s e d i s c u s s i o n s a n d a d i a l o g u e o f s o r t s r e s u l t e d . B y t h e m i d d l e o f t h e d e c a d e , h o w e v e r , t h e r a n k s o f c r i t i c s h a d i n c r e a s e d w h i l e d e f e n s e s f r o m G I S h a d t a p e r e d o f f . A f e w G I S s c h o l a r s w e l c o m e d t h e i n t e r v e n t i o n a n d f e l t t h a t t h e c r i t i q u e s e x p r e s s e d c r i t i c a l s h o r t c o m i n g s o f G I S ( C h r i s m a n a n d H a r v e y , 1998, P o i k e r , 1 9 9 7 , p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w ) . O t h e r s w e r e d i s t u r b e d b y t h e c l e a r l a c k o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f G I S e x h i b i t e d b y c r i t i c s ( O p e n s h a w , 1991; C l a r k e , 1998; M a r b l e , 1998, p e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w s ) . A t t h e s a m e t i m e , a n u m b e r o f c r i t i c s a n d G I S r e s e a r c h e r s h a d b e g u n t o w o r k t o g e t h e r o n t h e N a t i o n a l C e n t e r f o r G e o g r a p h i c I n f o r m a t i o n A n a l y s i s ( N C G I A ) I n i t i a t i v e 19. C r i t i c s w e r e d r a w n i n t o t h e u p p e r e c h e l o n s o f G I S r e s e a r c h , a n d t h e p r e s e n t e r a o f i n c r e a s e d c o o p e r a t i o n b e t w e e n c r i t i c s a n d t h e G I S c o m m u n i t y w a s i n i t i a t e d . T h e t h i r d w a v e i s m a r k e d b y a c