According to Innes and Simpson, "GIS
includes the knowledge of programmers
and engineers, the practice of using overlay
maps for environmental analysis, the laws
and ordinances requiring protection of
resources, the financing of planning and
regulation, and the education of planners."
Hence, GIS should not only be treated
strictly as a technological innovation,
but rather as a socially constructed technology.
As with any new technical tool, the design
of an instrument is a small part of the
innovation, since for it to function properly,
it needs to be adapted to the organizational
and individual changes of the society.
Thus, innovations are integrated into
practice through the association of the
user's practice and technology capabilities.
In turn, these capabilities will change
and evolve with the users' cultural diversification.
The use of Feng
Shui in our society today is a consequence
of the assimilation occurring in the country
due to the ever-changing socioeconomic
and demographic transitions.
The flow of migration into the United
States had been in a steady rise since
the 1980's. When settling in the country,
immigrants bring with them not only their
economic resources (e.g. labor skills
and knowledge), but also an array of socio-cultural
traits. Though these traits are imbedded
in their persona, a blended assimilation
to the new country's culture -- as well
as the country's assimilation to the immigrant's
culture -- takes place. Consequently,
this transition changes the planning principles
and forms of planning used in our country
today. With respect to GIS technology,
Lake (1993) believes that GIS is ethically
flawed because it relies on a partial
and incomplete approach to ethics as well
as its lack to comprehend and respect
the differences among the individuals
that constitute the data that the system
is based on. According to Curry (1993),
this underlined difference in data is
constituted by the positivist assumption
of subject-object dualism. Under GIS,
the separation of subject object occurs
when access to massive databases leads
the analyst to objectify the subject data.
In this case, the "other is seen
as existing in Cartesian space and technical,
chronological time, rather than lived
space, or place, and human or narrative
time, while the person [the analyst] doing
the judgment remains centered in the human
world, seeing himself or herself as making
decisions and acting freely." By
objectifying the data, the individuals
become indistinguishable and interchangeable
under GIS. This is contrary to a 'real'
situation where the characteristics of
the individual may vary over space and
time. GIS is an integral technology capable
of handling complex data and analyzing
it so to achieve a union and correlation
with data from diverse layers of information.
But it is not the complexity of GIS what
is been questioned. Rather, it is the
objectification of the data used. By applying
GIS technology to subject data gathered
with Feng Shui analysis, the results presented
by the combination of both sciences can
be more specific and less bias to generalization.