Essentially, the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology (K.-T. Chang 2014). The critical functionalities of any GIS package are: data capture, storage, management, retrieval, analysis, and display. See Eldrandaly (2007) Applied GIS 3, 5, 4 for a really useful guide to the different types of GIS package, and their strengths and weaknesses. See C. P. Lo and A. Yeung (2007) on GIS and spatial problem-solving.
M. Cope and S. Elwood, eds (2009) explain that qualitative GIS aims to look at how individuals understand space and what the impacts of these understandings are for the production of socio-spatial relations. For an example, see Verd and Porcel (2011) Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research 13, 2 on the way qualitative GIS was used to study the social production of urban space. A geographic resources analysis support system is a free, open source GIS capable of handling raster, topological vector, image processing, and graphic data (K.-T. Chang 2014).
Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature for Cartography or GIS? And do you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents (ToCs) of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC's you can download and read the articles you want.
You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.
Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.