By the mid-1990s, interest was growing in geographic information science as a discipline based on fundamental geographic concepts that could engage student learning from early childhood to a life-time interest in the infrastructural and intellectual developments required for advances in the modeling of complex environmental and social processes. Seeking to accommodate this need, NCGIA adopted a new approach for a revised core curriculum. It was organized around four major themes:
(1) “Fundamental Geographic Concepts for GIS"—enumerating the concepts and describing their role in human cognition;
(2)"Implementing Geographic Concepts in GIS"—discussing the implementation and handling of geographic concepts in digital computers;
(3) "Geographic Information Technology in Society"—examining the management of these technologies, their implications for society, and the social context in which they are used; and
(4) "Application Areas and Case Studies"—critically examining how GIS is used in various applications.
Each of these four groupings consisted of self-contained teaching units based on a one-hour lecture format of approximately 7 pages of point-form text, with inline sketches and graphics. By placing the materials on-line, the potential existed for instructors or subsidiary project teams to develop supporting structures (e.g., hypertext) to organize the lecture notes and other on-line materials into interactive tutorial systems.