Social construction of Geographic Information Systems. (Volumes I and II)

Sundeep Sahay, Florida International University


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an emerging information technology (IT) which promises to have large scale influences in how spatially distributed resources are managed. It has had applications in the management of issues as diverse as recovering from the disaster of Hurricane Andrew to aiding military operations in Desert Storm. Implementation of GIS systems is an important issue because there are high cost and time involvement in setting them up. An important component of the implementation problem is the "meaning" different groups of people who are influencing the implementation give to the technology. The research was based on the theory of (theoretical stance to the problem was based on the) "Social Construction of Knowledge" systems which assumes knowledge systems are subject to sociological analysis both in usage and in content. An interpretive research approach was adopted to inductively derive a model which explains how the "meanings" of a GIS are socially constructed. The research design entailed a comparative case analysis over two county sites which were using the same GIS for a variety of purposes. A total of 75 in-depth interviews were conducted to elicit interpretations of GIS. Results indicate that differences in how geographers and data-processors view the technology lead to different implementation patterns in the two sites.

Subject Area

Management|Geography|Remote sensing

Recommended Citation

Sahay, Sundeep, "Social construction of Geographic Information Systems. (Volumes I and II)" (1993). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9325695.