Some researchers have noted that GIS has been restricted to producing cartographic products rather than spatial modeling. GIS was conventionally developed using a hybrid approach that handled graphical and descriptive geographical data separately. This georelational data model was the norm for GIS implementation until the late 1990s. GIS was usually used as means of overlaying maps. Almost all mathematical models are too complex to be run directly from present state-of-the-art GIS. They often run outside the GIS. In these cases, the GIS is used to supply the input data at an appropriate resolution and to display the results graphically in combination with other relevant spatial data.
Integration of GIS and simulation models can be categorized into loose coupling and deep coupling. Most integration is in the loose coupling category that integrates GIS with simulation models through exchanging data files. This approach often requires human intervention, which can become a barrier in automating the operation process. The deep coupling approach links GIS and simulation models with a common user interface, in which GIS and simulation models can remain, in fact, separate systems.
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