What Can GIS Do?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This special issue is organized around the deceptively simple question: "what should the doing of critical GIS look like?" Instead of declaring what path critical GIS should take, I instead argue that we do not know what GIS can do. I suggest that we hold a place for doubt and unknowing, acknowledging that the potentials and possibilities of GIS do not preexist practice, but rather, critical GIS emerges in the doing and practice of GIS. Following this argument, I make three main claims in the article. First, I argue that understanding the possibilities for GIS requires being attentive to how particular instantiations of GIS connect with social and material relations. Second, I argue that the doing of critical GIS might use these existing limitations as a starting point for the remaking of GIS. Third, I argue that the doing of critical GIS has an important role to play in understanding how GIS is used within infrastructures of governance. I conclude by suggesting that the doing of critical GIS takes meaningful form through experimentation, openness to the encounter, and linking with existing situated practices and theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Published with Creative Commons licence: Attribution–Noncommercial–No Derivatives


  • Algorithmic governance
  • Community geographies
  • Geographical imagination systems
  • Gis
  • Speculative computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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