The advent of geographic information system (GIS) technology and its adoption outside Western industrialized nations have inspired a great deal of debate about the possible impact of the technology on traditions of people in non-Western societies. Citing adverse impacts and without much appreciation for the socioeconomic realities driving the need for change, some critics advocate an end to the transfer of GIS into developing countries. It is apparent that concerns for inappropriate uses of the technology have overshadowed the need for investigation into factors that necessitate the transfer of GIS into developing countries. This article reviews the GIS transfer controversy and argues that a surer way to protect institutions and minimize the harmful impact of GIS is for people to learn to be skilful in the development and applications of the technology.
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