The Landscape Guide

5.1 GIS, structuralism, the birth, the death and the life of planning

Contents list

A geographical information system (GIS) is able to represent the world in different ways for different purposes, by retrieving information from a computer-held database. Structuralism recognizes that all information about the world enters the mind not as raw data but as abstract structures resulting from mental transformations of sensory input. The birth of planning, as a specialized profession, developed from seeing the world in one particular way, on two-dimensional drawings which privilege a certain aspect of the environment. As the death of planning, in this limited sense, is imminent, the future life of planning lies with specialized plans, based on specialized surveys, stored within a GIS and assembled for defined purposes. These five points are the subject of this essay.

Leonardo da Vinci's Map of Imola (1502), one of the first precisely measured and accurately drawn maps, was a projection on a plane surface