Journal of Real Estate Literature

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 177–201 | Cite as

Real Estate Problem Solving and Geographic Information Systems: A Stage Model of Reasoning

  • Larry E. Wofford
  • Grant Thrall


The development of computerized geographic information systems (GIS) and the accompanying extensive databases, many of them utilizing desktop computers, has created a technological revolution extending directly into real estate problem solving. Real estate problems are often characterized as uncertain, complex, and dynamic. Solving them, if solutions are possible, is a multistep process with a strong emphasis on deductive reasoning and decision making, both emphases adopted from the finance and economics disciplines. This article develops a stage model that considers the fundamental reasoning activities of description, explanation, prediction, judgement, and implementation common to all problem-solving steps in order to assess how GIS may affect real estate problem solving. The model is used to demonstrate the potential of GIS to more fully incorporate problem-solving steps other than decision making into the problem-solving process and to make inductive thinking more rigorous and accessible. The article also considers the issues of rigor and relevance and potential side effects and unintended consequences associated with the use of GIS or other information technology.


Decision Making Information Technology Geographic Information System Geographic Information System Unintended Consequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alonso, W. (1964). Location and Land Use: Toward a General Theory of Land Rent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baron, J. (1994). Thinking and Deciding (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bauer, H.H. (1992). Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  4. Berry, B.J.L. (1964). “Approaches to Regional Analysis: A Synthesis.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 54, 2–11.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, L. (1981). Innovation Diffusion: A New Perspective. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  6. Brush, Stephen G. (1974). “Should the History of Science Be Rated X?” Science, 183, 1164–1172.Google Scholar
  7. Burke, James, and Robert Ornstein. (1995). The Axemaker's Gift. New York: Putnam's.Google Scholar
  8. Casetti, E. (1993). “Spatial Analysis: Perspectives and Prospects.” Urban Geography, 14, 526–537.Google Scholar
  9. Christaller, W. (1966). Central Places in Southern Germany. Translated by C. W. Baskin. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Clapp, John M., Michael A. Goldberg, and Dowell Myers. (1994). “Crisis in Methodology: Paradigms vs. Practice in Real Estate Research.” In James R. DeLisle and J. Sa-Aadu (eds.), Appraisal, Market Analysis, and Public Policy in Real Estate. Boston: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  11. Clark, W.A.V. (1984). Human Migration. Scientific Geography Series. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Dasso, J., J.D. Shilling, and A. Ring. (1995). Real Estate (12th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  13. Dawes, Robyn M. (1988). Rational Choice in an Uncertain World. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  14. Diaz III, Julian. (1993). “Science, Engineering and the Discipline of Real Estate.” Journal of Real Estate Literature, 1, 183–195.Google Scholar
  15. Driver, F., and C. Philo. (1985). “The Implications of ‘Scientific’ Geography.” Area, 17(9), 161–162.Google Scholar
  16. Evans, Jonathan St. B.T. (1989). Bias in Human Reasoning. Hove: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Fielding, G.J. (1974). Geography as Social Science. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  18. Golledge, R.G. (1978). “Learning About Urban Environments.” In T. Carlstein, D. Parkes, and N. Thrift (eds.), Timing Space and Spacing Time. Vol. 1: Making Sense of Time (pp. 76–98). Thrift. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  19. Gombrich, E.H. (1969). Art and Illusion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gould, P. and R. White. (1986). Mental Maps (2nd ed.) Boston: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  21. Grissom, Terry V., and Crocker H. Liu. (1994). “The Search for a Discipline: The Philosophy and the Paradigms.” In James R. DeLisle and J. Sa-Aadu (eds.), Appraisal, Market Analysis, and Public Policy in Real Estate, (pp. 65–106). Boston: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  22. Gummesson, Evert. (1991). Qualitative Methods in Management Research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Hagerstrand, T. (1953). Innovation Diffusion as a Spatial Process. Translated by A. Pred. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hart, Stuart L. (1986). “Steering the Path Between Ambiguity and Overload: Planning as Strategic Social Process.” In Milan J. Dluhy and Kan Chen, (eds.), Interdisciplinary Planning: A Perspective for the Future (pp. 107–123). New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research.Google Scholar
  25. Hartshorne, Richard. (1939). “The Nature of Geography: A Critical Survey of Current Thought in the Light of the Past.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 2, 173–658.Google Scholar
  26. Hayes, J.R. (1989). The Complete Problem Solver (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Haynes, K.E., and A.S. Fotheringham. (1984). Gravity and Spatial Interaction Models. Scientific Geography Series. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Hirshleifer, J. (1976). Price Theory and Applications. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  29. Howson, C., and P. Urbach. (1989). Scientific Reasoning: The Bayesian Approach. La Salle, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
  30. Hoyt, H. (1933). One Hundred Years of Chicago Land Values. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. Hoyt, H. (1939). The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities. Washington, DC: Federal Housing Administration.Google Scholar
  32. Jaffe, Austin, and C.F. Sirmans. (1995). Fundamentals of Real Estate Investment (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  33. Johnston, R.J. (1991). Geography and Geographers (4th ed.). London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  34. Johnston, R.J. (1993). “Meet the Challenge: Make the Change.” In R.J. Johnston (ed.), The Challenge for Geography: A Changing World, A Changing Discipline (pp. 151–180). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  35. King, L.J. (1984). Central Place Theory. Scientific Geography Series. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Kuhn, Thomas S. (1969). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. Laudan, Larry. (1982). Progress and Its Problems. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  38. Lukermann, F. (1989). “The Nature of Geography: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc?” In J.N. Entrikin and S.D. Brunn, (eds.), Reflections on Richard Hartshorne's “The Nature of Geography” (p. 61). Occasional Publications of the Association of American Geographers.Google Scholar
  39. Martin, G.J. (1994). “In Memoriam: Richard Hartshorne, 1899–1992.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 84, 480–492.Google Scholar
  40. McCartney, J.W., and G.I. Thrall. (1991). “Real Estate Acquisition Decisions with GIS: Ranking Property for Purchase.” Proceedings of the Annual GIS/LIS Conference, October, Atlanta, Georgia.Google Scholar
  41. Morrill, R., G. Gaile, and G.I. Thrall. (1988). Spatial Diffusion. Scientific Geography Series. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  42. Negroponte, Nicholas. (1995). Being Digital. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  43. Neisser, Ulric. (1976). Cognition and Reality. New York. Freeman.Google Scholar
  44. Openshaw, S. (1989). “Computer Modeling in Human Geography.” In B. Macmillan (ed.), Remodeling Geography (pp. 70–80). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  45. Pickles, John. (1995). Ground Truth. New York. Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  46. Piattelli-Palmarini, Massimo. (1994). Inevitable Illusions. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  47. Pyhrr, Stephen A. (1973). “A Computer Simulation Model to Measure the Risk in Real Estate Investment.” American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association Journal, 1, 48–78.Google Scholar
  48. Pyhrr, Stephen A., James R. Cooper, Larry E. Wofford, Steven D. Kapplin, and Paul D. Lapides. (1989). Real Estate Investment Strategy, Analysis, Decisions (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  49. Ralston, B., G. Tharaken, and C. Liu. (1994). “A Spatial Decision Support System for Transportation Policy Analysis in Bangladesh.” Journal of Transport Geography, 2, 101–110.Google Scholar
  50. Reason, J. (1990). Human Error. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Rodriguez, Mauricio, J. Lipscomb, and W. Yancey. (1996). “Under All Is the Net.” Journal of Real Estate Literature.Google Scholar
  52. Roulac, S.E. (1994). “The Evolution of Real Estate Decisions.” In James R. DeLisle and J. Sa-Aadu (eds.), Appraisal, Market Analysis, and Public Policy in Real Estate (pp. 15–63). Boston: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  53. Schon, Donald A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  54. Simon, Herbert A., and associates. (1992). “Decision Making and Problem Solving.” In Mary Zey (ed.), Decision Making, Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  55. Starfield, A.M., K.A. Smith, and A.L. Bleloch. (1990). How to Model It. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  56. Tenner, Edward. (1996). Why Things Bite Back. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  57. Thaler, Richard H. (1991). Quasi Rational Economics. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  58. Thrall, G.I. (1979). “A Geographic Criterion for Identifying Property Tax Assessment in Equity.” Professional Geographer, 31, 278–283.Google Scholar
  59. Thrall, G.I. (1985). “Reply to R. Driver and C. Philo, A Rebuttal to Their Implications of Scientific Geography: A Comment on Thrall's September 1985 Commentary.” Area, 17(9), 162–163.Google Scholar
  60. Thrall, G.I. (1987). Land Use and Urban Form. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  61. Thrall, G.I. (1991). “The Production Theory of Land Rent.” Environment and Planning, 23, 955–967.Google Scholar
  62. Thrall, G.I. (1993a). “Basic GIS Software Can Help Make Urban Policy.” Geo Info Systems, 3(1), 58–64.Google Scholar
  63. Thrall, G.I. (1993b). “Using a GIS to Rate the Quality of Property Tax Appraisal.” Geo Info Systems, 3(3), 56–62.Google Scholar
  64. Thrall, G.I. (Forthcoming). “Real Estate Information Technology: The Future Is Today.” In Gil Castle (ed.), Real Estate GIS. Colorado Springs: GIS World and Appraisal Institute.Google Scholar
  65. Thrall, G.I., B. Bates, and M. Ruiz. (1994). “A History of Implementing an Urban GIS. Part Two: Two Solutions Toward a Working GIS.” Geo Info Systems, 4(10), 46–51.Google Scholar
  66. Thrall, G.I. and S. Elshaw-Thrall. (1990). “A Computer-Assisted Decision Strategy for Evaluating New Satellite Hub Sites for a Local Utility Provider.” Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems, 14, 37–48.Google Scholar
  67. Thrall, G.I. and S. Elshaw-Thrall. (1991). “Reducing Investor Risk: A GIS Design for Real Estate Analysis.” Geo Info Systems, 1(10), 40–46.Google Scholar
  68. Thrall, G.I. and S. Elshaw-Thrall. (1993). “Commercial Data for the Business GIS.” Geo Info Systems, 3(7), 63–68.Google Scholar
  69. Thrall, G.I., S. Elshaw-Thrall, M. Ruiz, and C. Sidman. (1993). “Using GIS Tools to Analyze and Visualize Spatial Phenomena (TIN, Voronoi Polygons, Surface Models).” Geo Info Systems, 3(5), 59–65.Google Scholar
  70. Thrall, G.I. and A.P. Marks. (1992). “Siting Hospitals to Provide Cost-Effective Health Care.” Geo Info Systems, 2(8), 58–66.Google Scholar
  71. Thrall, G.I. and J.W. McCartney. (1991). “Keeping the Garbage Out: Using the Delphi Method for GIS Criteria.” Geo Info Systems, 1(1), 46–52.Google Scholar
  72. Thrall, G.I. and M. Ruiz. (1994). “A History of Implementing an Urban GIS. Part One: Design, Tribulations, and Failure.” Geo Info Systems, 4(7), 50–78.Google Scholar
  73. Thrall, G.I., C. Sidman, S. Elshaw-Thrall, and T. Fik. (1993). “The Cascade GIS Diffusion Model for Measuring Housing Absorption by Small Area with a Case Study of St. Lucie County, Florida.” Journal of Real Estate Research, 8, 401–420.Google Scholar
  74. Tobler, W. (1970). “A Computer Movie Simulating Urban Growth in the Detroit Region.” Economic Geography, 46(2), 234–240.Google Scholar
  75. Trefil, James. (1994). A Scientist in the City. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  76. Tversky, Amos and Daniel Kahneman. (1981). “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.” Science, 30 (January 30), 453–458.Google Scholar
  77. von Thünen, J.H. (1842). Der Isolierte Staat. In P. Hall (ed.), Von Thünen's Isolated State. London: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  78. Wisudha, Ayleen. (1985). “Design of Decision-Aiding Systems.” In George Wright (ed.), Behavioral Decision Making, New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  79. Wurtzebach, C.H., and M.E. Miles. (1994). Modern Real Estate (5th ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry E. Wofford
    • 1
  • Grant Thrall
    • 2
  1. 1.C & L Systems CorporationUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of FloridaGainesville

Personalised recommendations